At least 20 staffers at The Hollywood Reporter — including Executive Vice President and Group Publisher Lynne Segall — were let go this week as part of deep staffing cuts made by parent company Valence Media, TheWrap has learned.
Among those laid off on Tuesday and Wednesday include top editors and writers like senior film critic Todd McCarthy, senior editor Benjamin Svetkey, senior film editor Piya Sinha-Roy, real estate and city editor Peter Kiefer and senior events editor Ramona Saviss, according to a knowledgeable individual.
Senior reporter Rebecca Sun, senior art production manager Michelle Mondragon, senior photo editor Lisa Dragani, senior video producers Marya Gullo and Natalie Heltzel and senior production manager Maya Eslami were also let go, the individual said.
Segall had been in her role at The Hollywood Reporter since 2014 after previously leading advertising sales and initiatives for the publication. She was a featured speaker every year at the trade’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast, an event spotlighting several hundred of the top women in the industry. Segall rejoined The Hollywood Reporter in 2011 after previous stints at Deadline and the Los Angeles Times.
As exclusively reported by TheWrap last week, the cuts are expected to rise to “$9-$10 million of personnel and headcount expenses,” according to an insider at the company. The downsizing, which will also include a reduction in print publication frequency for THR and Billboard, was initially slated to be even deeper, the insider said, since losses at the media company are estimated at about $18-$19 million a year.
“A month ago I was surprised, out of nowhere, to get a nice raise. Yesterday I got the boot. By guys I’ve never met. Apparently if you make over a certain amount, you’re suddenly too expensive for the new owners of The Hollywood Reporter,” McCarthy wrote in a column on Wednesday. “Dozens are being forced to walk the plank. It’s a bloodbath.”
Editorial director Matt Belloni was also fired last week after clashes with the company’s business leaders.
A spokeswoman for Valence Media had no comment for this story.
In a Tuesday memo to staff obtained by CNN Business, Valence’s co-CEOs Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu attributed the layoffs — which affect about 100 people in the company’s media division, CNN reported — to the pandemic and company-wide restructuring that was “planned for 2020-2021.”
“Each of our divisions was affected differently, dependent on the specifics of the business. The greatest impact was on our Media division, which underwent layoffs and a restructuring, part of which was a response to advertising market conditions and part of which was an acceleration of actions that were planned for 2020-2021,” the memo said. “Though these are uncertain times, we made these decisions assuming that our society will emerge from lockdown over the course of the summer and early fall, and that there will be a fairly serious global recession for at least one year. We do not anticipate any more COVID-19 related actions unless conditions fall below that threshold.”
Wiczyk and Satchu also announced they would be forgoing their salaries and instituting pay cuts for employees making more than $100,000. An unnamed source who spoke with CNN Business said that the pay cuts would be in the 15-25% range.