Vox Media Podcast Network and New York Magazine today announced the launch of Cover Story, a new investigative podcast series drawing on New York’s history of richly reported features. The show’s first season, called Power Trip and hosted by iO Tillett Wright, asks: as psychedelic therapy is barreling toward legalization, are we overlooking a pattern of deception and abuse among some of the movement’s leaders? Some of the practitioners working with local governments, new start-ups, and clinical trials for the FDA to treat conditions like PTSD and depression come from a culture that has historically swept both sexual and psychological abuses under the rug. The story centers on Lily Kay Ross, who was abused and discouraged from speaking out publicly. She’s now back to uncover some of its secrets and have an honest dialogue before psychedelic therapy goes mainstream.
The season will be released in two parts of four episodes each, with part one coming out on November 30th and releasing episodes weekly on Tuesdays until December 21st, and part two following in February 2022. This season was co-produced with Psymposia, a not for profit watchdog group reporting on the psychedelic community. Cover Story’s theme music was produced and composed by Santigold.
“When Lily first started talking to me about the shitshow and the cover ups, I was skeptical,” says Wright in the show’s first episode of his initial reaction to the show. “I didn’t want to be part of a project that played into the war on drugs. I grew up in the East Village in New York, surrounded by people who used drugs. Some for fun. Some to self medicate for pains that the world wasn’t interested in helping them resolve. So I was sensitive to the way the world demonizes drug use.”
“Reporting out Cover Story: Power Trip, I’ve come to understand that the scope and severity of abuse within the psychedelic movement are worse than I ever imagined,” says Ross. “I believe that the safety of vulnerable people depends on having an honest conversation, and I hope this show can help kickstart a conversation that should have started a long time ago.”
Wright is the author of Darling Days: A Memoir (Ecco, 2016), host and producer of The Ballad of Billy Balls, cohost of MTV’s Catfish, creator of the hit TED talk “50 Shades of Gay,” and founder and photographer behind the Self Evident Truths project.
Ross is a feminist scholar and educator, and works to advance best practices and evidence-based policies and responses to sexual harm. Her PhD research looks at how neoliberal discourses burden victims of sexual violence with the directive to individually overcome social problems, and the trouble with posttraumatic growth. She is Arts & Gender editor at Psymposia, has been featured as an expert in Quartz, CBC, Stuff, TVNZ, and interviewed in two documentaries: She’ll Be Right (2020) and Psychedemia: The Psychedelic Conference Documentary (2013).
Listen to the show’s first episode and trailer, and follow Cover Story: Power Trip on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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Named by Adweek as 2021’s “Hottest in Podcasts,” Vox Media Podcast Network has over 150 active shows featuring industry-leading editorial voices and storytellers from Vox Media’s networks and beyond. From daily news and tech to culture and sports, and talk and interview shows to news and rich narrative storytelling, the Vox Media Podcast Network is one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most topically diverse collections of premium podcasts. Learn more about the Vox Media Podcast Network here.