According to AdWeek, the layoffs at the men’s lifestyle site happened during the daily editorial staff meeting via Google Hangout as staffers were informed of the decision and then kicked out of the meeting as their access to Slack and company emails were cut off. AdWeek reports that staff were not told why they had been laid off.
Recurrent Ventures acquired Mel magazine in July 2021, but was unable to monetize the site, spokeswoman Cathy Hebert told TheWrap via email about the company’s reorganization.
“We have also made the difficult decision to pivot our editorial and acquisition focuses away from the Lifestyle vertical which includes our key Lifestyle brand, MEL,” Hebert wrote. She credited the “tremendous job,” done by co-founder and editor-in-chief Josh Schollmeyer and executive editor Lindsay Schrupp, as well as “the incredibly talented writers,” saying, “We love MEL and are very aware that the team has been through a lot over the last few year.”
Her email also stated, “However, we’ve spent more than a year implementing and strategizing a variety of different monetization channels that haven’t gained traction. At this stage, we’ve invested more into the business than we committed to because we wanted this to succeed. Our overall M&A strategy has evolved to be focused on building a leadership position in our core verticals.”
Hebert concluded, “These are difficult decisions, but ones we believe are necessary to ensure Recurrent is properly structured for the long term.”
“We love MEL and are very aware that the team has been through a lot over the last few years,” Hebert wrote in her email, “However, we’ve spent more than a year implementing and strategizing a variety of different monetization channels that haven’t gained traction,” adding the company had decided to “pivot our editorial and acquisition focuses away from the Lifestyle vertical.”
Per AdWeek, the editorial staff was told in July 2021 that they would be given between 18 and 24 months to turn a profit, but the end came exactly 12 months later.
Several laid-off staffers tweeted about the news on Friday that they were once again out of a job.
In a Twitter thread, staff writer Miles Klee, wrote, “lol got laid off again. send nudes,” and joked, “time to get into crypto.” He also shared a meme of Aku, the villain from “Samurai Jack,” that read, “You’re back already?” as the reaction he’s likely to get from the California unemployment website.
The site was still live early Friday night with the entire staff still listed on the masthead.
For the record: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Cathy Hebert as Karen Hebert. The Wrap regrets the error.