Leon Neyfakh

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Leon Neyfakh
Leon Neyfakh at an event.jpg
Alma materHarvard University
OccupationJournalist, staff writer, radio host

Leon Neyfakh (born 1985)[1] is an American journalist, radio host and author. He is known for hosting the podcasts Slow Burn and Fiasco,[2] and his book The Next Next Level: A Story of Rap, Friendship, and Almost Giving Up.

Early life and education[edit]

Neyfakh was born in the Soviet Union and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. Both of his parents are Russian Jews[3] who immigrated to the United States when Neyfakh was a child.[4]

He graduated from Harvard University in 2007 with an A.B. in history and literature.[5] During his time there, he wrote for its student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.[6]


Neyfakh is best known for creating and hosting Slate's podcast Slow Burn, which has covered American political scandals. The first season of the podcast was about the Watergate scandal of Richard Nixon,[7][8] and the second season covered the Lewinsky scandal of Bill Clinton.[9]

Before joining Slate, Neyfakh worked for the Boston Globe as the Ideas staff, and was a reporter for the New York Observer. He has also written for The FADER, The New Republic, and Rollingstone.com.[5]

Neyfakh also wrote a book titled The Next Next Level: A Story of Rap, Friendship, and Almost Giving Up, about Juiceboxxx, a rapper from Wisconsin.[10][4]

In November 2018, Neyfakh announced on Twitter that he was leaving Slate to write and host his new podcast, FIASCO,[11] which is offered exclusively on the Luminary podcast platform.[12] The first season focused on the Bush vs. Gore legal battle, and the second is centered around the Iran–Contra affair.[13]

In February 2019, it was announced that Epix would release a six-part docu-series inspired by Slow Burn with Neyfakh as host. The series was set to premiere on February 16, 2020.[14]

The third season of FIASCO is centered on the Boston busing crisis of the 1970s,[15] and was released in August 2020, during the ongoing George Floyd protests. When asked about how Americans can actively and effectively engage in the topic of race, Neyfakh said:

"I think there should be more recognition on the part of white people like me that believing in equality usually means giving something up. In the new season of Fiasco, listeners will hear a lot of white voices saying they believe in integration and equality but not in “busing” because it’s not fair to force white children into worse schools. The thing is, as [the journalist] Nikole Hannah-Jones has written, busing is the most immediate method of desegregating schools and making them equal. Of course someone has to give something up."[16]

The latest season of Fiasco tells the story of the 2012 Benghazi attack and the political scandal that followed.

In early 2020, a new podcast called 5-4 was launched, for which Neyfakh provides introductions to the individual episodes and has editorial oversight. The podcast focuses on U.S. Supreme Court cases and how they impact life and liberty of Americans.

Personal life[edit]

Neyfakh is married to Alice Gregory, a freelance journalist. The couple live in Brooklyn, New York City,[17][18][4] and have a black toy poodle named Mickey.[19]


  1. ^ Bromwich, Jonah Engel (August 17, 2020). "What Historical Moment Is Leon Neyfakh Learning From Now?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  2. ^ CBC, Radio (March 12, 2020). "Leon Neyfakh on political scandals and his favourite podcasts".
  3. ^ Ep. 188: FiveThirtyEight politics writer Clare Malone and Fiasco host Leon Neyfakh, Unorthodox podcast, July 11, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c The Impulsive Life Not Chosen The New Yorker
  6. ^ Leon Neyfakh, The Harvard Crimson
  7. ^ New podcast revisits Watergate in the Trump era Columbia Journalism Review
  8. ^ Slow Burn’: Watergate Podcast Host on Avoiding Obvious Trump Parallels and Finding Out When Conspiracies Come True
  9. ^ Slate’s Slow Burn Podcast to Return With New Season About the Clinton Impeachment Vulture
  10. ^ ‘The Next Next Level’ by Leon Neyfakh: a tale of rap and friendship The Washington Post
  11. ^ Slate’s Leon Neyfakh on Slow Burn’s success and political storytelling Columbia Journalism Review
  12. ^ Larson, Sarah (June 4, 2019). "Three Podcasts to Listen to in June". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  13. ^ Alam, Rumaan (February 4, 2020). "Fiasco Tries to Make Iran-Contra a Teachable Moment". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  14. ^ Bennett, Anita (February 10, 2019). "Epix Greenlights Podcast-Inspired Docuseries 'Slow Burn' – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  15. ^ "Subscribe to read | Financial Times". www.ft.com. Retrieved October 22, 2020. Cite uses generic title (help)
  16. ^ "Leon Neyfakh Takes On This Turning Point in American History". Interview Magazine. July 27, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  17. ^ New York Media Power Couples: The Varsity Lineup and the Incoming Class The Observer
  18. ^ The Daily Grind of a Distracted Freelance Writer Fold magazine
  19. ^ mickey the toy poodle knocks down a delighted baby, retrieved November 23, 2019