Mic Co-Founders Savaged by Union After Mass Layoffs: ‘New Low in Corporate Mendacity’

“We cannot imagine a move more cynical or perverse than terminating your entire staff,” union says

Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz

The co-founders of Mic.com were denunciated their own union on Thursday after company chief Chris Altchek announced mass layoffs to the site’s editorial staff.

“While many of us have experienced layoffs and upheavals in the past at other media companies, this level of deception from Mic co-founders Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz represents a new low in corporate mendacity,” the union said. “While we were mourning the loss of our newsroom, that shock and disillusionment quickly turned to anger as it soon became apparent that we were lied to, once again, by Mic management.”

The layoffs came in addition to news that the company had been sold off to Bustle chief Bryan Goldberg — who was also singled out for criticism by the union.

“We cannot imagine a move more cynical or perverse than terminating your entire staff, only to cede the “brand” to a new buyer who will presumably pick the scraps from the carcass of a newsroom that we all spent years building,” said the union.

With the sale to Bustle, the ultimate fate of the Mic Union remains unclear. Reps for Mic and Bustle declined to comment.

Valued at $100 million just two years ago, Mic was ultimately forced to sell for less than $5 million to Goldberg Thursday amid a cash crunch precipitated in the short term by Facebook’s decision to cancel the company’s Facebook Watch program.

Over the longterm, many outside critics noted how the company had hitched its wagon too closely to social media algorithms at the expense of developing a real audience. Many also asked why a company funded entirely with investor largess would spend money on lavish office space in New York City’s World Trade Center — rent for which the Real Deal reported totaled $2.5 million a year. 

“If you’re in journalism and in fancy office space, you better have a Plan B. Almost a sure sign that people are making bad decisions with their investors money,” said Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffrey on Thursday.

Though there had been warnings signs, the fall of Mic still came as a surprise to many. Just weeks ago, Altchek falsely insisted that there was nothing amiss at the company and berated a journalist for accurately reporting otherwise.