Vice Media revealed on Friday that it would move to lay off roughly 10 percent of its employees in a reorganization that is expected to cut 250 jobs, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to TheWrap on Friday.
“Having finalized the 2019 budget, our focus shifts to executing our goals and hitting our marks,” CEO Nancy Dubuc told Vice staff in a memo. “We will make Vice the best manifestation of itself and cement its place long into the future.”
The layoffs are the latest in what is already shaping to be a tough start to 2019 for media companies. Over the last two weeks, at least a 1,000 media jobs have been eliminated according to a count from CNN, with high profile cuts coming to BuzzFeed, HuffPost and Gannett.
“Basically the email came through from Nancy this morning and sure enough people started getting called up to HR bit by bit,” a Vice Media employee who escaped the layoffs told TheWrap via text. “I can tell you that everyone from Post PAs to seasoned staff editors for the shows (Vice News Tonight, and the now defunct weekly show) got axed. Even one of the Emmy-winning producers of the Charlottesville special. Understandably the mood in the office is very morose. Many people were expected to continue working for the day as if nothing had happened.
The Vice Media layoffs are the most significant of the downsizings so far and suggest that media companies will continue to suffer losses in its effort to develop a sustainable business model for the industry.
Dubuc, who was previously president and CEO of A&E, became Vice Media’s top executive in March 2018, taking over for Shane Smith, who became the company’s executive chairman.
The cuts come as Vice Media continues to grapple with a culture of sexual misconduct, which resulted in multiple departures of some of its top leaders. In January 2018, the company fired its chief digital officer Mike Germano after he was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct in a lengthy exposé New York Times.
The same piece also reported on a $135,000 settlement between company president Andrew Creighton and another woman. After being a lengthy suspension, Creighton ultimately left the company as well in October 2018.
“Listening to our employees over the past year, the truth is inescapable: from the top down, we have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive,” wrote Vice co-founders Smith and Suroosh Alvi in a public note to Vice employees in December 2017 shortly after the Times piece was published.