Playboy Lays Off Remaining Editorial Staff, Pivots to e-Commerce

The once-legendary publication ended print editions in March, now lays off digital staff

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Playboy laid off 25 staffers, including most of its editorial team, the publication and editors said on Thursday.

The long-running publication is the latest in a string of digital outlets that has laid off staff as the coronavirus crisis has continued in America. In March, Playboy stopped its print editions altogether and pivoted to “digital-first publishing.” Now, most of that editorial team is gone, according to a source with knowledge of the layoffs.

“Today, we reorganized our business to address challenges caused by the global pandemic as well as to accelerate our work to build direct relationships with consumers through our e-commerce and service offerings,” Playboy Enterprises chief executive Ben Kohn said.

“Those leaving Playboy today have contributed in innumerable ways and will be greatly missed. We thank them for their dedicated service and are committed to supporting them as they embark on their job searches,” he added before noting his team is still “confident in Playboy’s brand.”

The company is providing a minimum of two months of severance, with extended severance for tenure, and covering COBRA through the severance period for those laid off, as well.

Senior editor Ryan Gajewski confirmed the layoffs on Twitter and wrote that he was among them: “It’s definitely tough to be among the Playboy layoffs today following the company’s decision to end the magazine and pivot away from editorial. But I’m grateful for all we were able to accomplish.”

“Proud to have won an award for my Ezra Miller profile, helped spur conversation with my Thomas Middleditch interview about his sex life, and collaborated w @jameelajamil as she guest-edited our final issue,” he continued, thanking colleagues.

Kohn attributed the halting of print editions to the coronavirus in March, but made no indication layoffs were on the horizon at that time.