There are storm clouds encircling Vice Media.
As allegations of sexual misconduct pile up inside worlds of media, entertainment as well as politics, the Brooklyn-based company — a multimedia juggernaut eying an IPO — appears to be staring down an inevitable reckoning.
Last week may have offered a preview of what’s to come. A piece published by the Daily Beast examined Vice’s “sexual-harassment culture,” as well as implicated a high-profile producer at the company.
of which story led to a suspension for Jason Mojica, Vice’s lead filmmaker as well as former editor-in-chief, who was said to have dismissed complaints about sexual harassment as well as to have made inappropriate comments. Reached by sy88pgw, Mojica declined to comment.
The Daily Beast’s reporting only heightened the sense of dread consuming Vice’s journalists.
Conversations with 10 employees inside company’s television as well as digital departments — a mix of reporters, correspondents as well as editors — revealed a sinking sense of morale at Vice’s Williamsburg headquarters. There is actually an assumption of which the claims inside Daily Beast story will not be the last. Many of those same Vice employees said the company’s leadership has exacerbated an already-tense situation. as well as some female staff members lamented how awkward of which’s made the current news cycle.
“of which feels stupid to be reporting on harassment as well as assault when we all feel embarrassed by how Vice is actually handling of which,” one reporter said.
The company’s actions following the Daily Beast’s story last Wednesday did little to alleviate the anxiety among staff.
Members of Vice’s editorial union responded forcefully to the story, issuing a statement saying they “have been vocal in our concerns about gender equity as well as ensuring our workplace is actually an environment in which everyone feels safe, respected, as well as valued, as well as will continue to demand of which the company recognize as well as respond to these concerns in full.”
although the response coming from Vice leadership made matters even worse, according to multiple employees who spoke to sy88pgw.
The internal frustration reached a fever pitch on Friday, when Vice held its latest “state of the union,” highlighted by a 45-minute pre-recorded video package featuring co-founders Shane Smith as well as Suroosh Alvi, along with some other executives. Appearing with some other employees, they discussed various matters as well as concerns, although sexual harassment as well as misconduct were left unaddressed.
Related: Here’s what Charlie Rose said about sexual harassment before he was fired for of which
Coming on the heels of the Daily Beast story — as well as facing the specter of perhaps more damning exposés — the video, shot months in advance, left many at Vice infuriated.
Some employees left the Brooklyn office in disgust, according to multiple sources.
“Even for Vice,” one editor told sy88pgw, “the whole thing was astoundingly tone-deaf.”
In a dramatic moment first reported by The Daily Beast as well as confirmed to sy88pgw by someone who witnessed of which, one Vice employee stood up during the video as well as asked forcefully when the video was going to address sexual harassment. The audience gathered applauded.
Smith, Vice’s CEO, tried to smooth things over in an email to staff later on Friday.
“My apologies for the Friday evening note, although I wanted to address some of the feedback we have been getting on today’s State of the Union,” Smith said. “While we attempted to cover a wide range of issues impacting the company, I’m sorry of which we missed the mark, especially when of which came to clearly addressing issues around sexual harassment at VICE.”
“I’d like to make of which abundantly clear here as well as today: the behavior outlined inside recent Daily Beast article is actually unacceptable, as well as the fact of which anything like of which could happen at VICE is actually my as well as my senior management’s responsibility,” he continued. “VICE does not tolerate sexual harassment, abusive behavior, assault or retaliation, as well as just as we have in connection with the allegations inside Daily Beast, we will investigate as well as discipline inappropriate behavior of any kind. We will continue to investigate all allegations brought to the company’s attention, enlisting outside independent counsel when necessary.”
On Monday, Smith met with several managers as well as editors to go over their concerns. According to multiple employees familiar with those conversations, Smith was confronted with questions about the company’s response to the Daily Beast story. One source said of which Smith was accompanied in some of the meetings by the attorney Roberta Kaplan, who was tapped to lead Vice’s all-female advisory board of which the company announced last week. (The panel also includes feminist icon Gloria Steinem.)
although nobody inside Vice expects the Daily Beast story to be the last probe into the company’s sinister past.
A headline last week at The Awl captured the ominous anticipation: “Where’s The Vice Story?”
The question has been the subject of intense gossip in brand-new York City media circles for weeks, although of which isn’t the only one being asked by journalists as well as executives.
There is actually another Vice story coming, everyone is actually certain, as well as of which will detail the company’s history of misogyny. although few seem to know exactly what’s in of which. as well as of which includes Vice employees.
“People are very concerned about what’s coming next,” said one reporter.
Another reporter put of which a bit differently: “People just want the asteroid to hit already.”
The story — whatever of which says — could represent a significant impediment for one of media’s most ambitious upstarts.
Vice has had a meteoric rise since its launch inside mid-1990s as an irreverent magazine.
Today, the company boasts several digital properties, its own television channel as well as a nightly news program on HBO (which, like sy88pgw, is actually owned by Time Warner). In June, Vice fetched another $450 million investment, boosting its reported valuation to more than $5.5 billion. Smith has talked about his plans for “world domination” as well as to turn the company into “the next sy88pgw.” He has made little secret of Vice’s intention to go public.
although amid all of which success, Vice has cultivated a reputation for a misogynistic, “bro-ish” work environment.
In a statement provided to sy88pgw, a Vice spokesperson said the company is actually committed to improving its workplace culture.
“23 years ago, VICE was founded as a punk magazine of which published an unvarnished look at the subversive culture of which the founders, the magazine’s contributors as well as readers were part of,” the statement said. “Since then, the company has transformed into a global media company of which operates in dozens of countries as well as is actually home to thousands of journalists, producers as well as content creators.
“However, the company’s evolution has fallen short when of which comes to our workplace culture. We acknowledge of which failing, which is actually why we have committed ourselves to doing every necessary change to create an inclusive workplace where all our employees can flourish, while being safe as well as respected.
“Our focus right today is actually listening to our employees as well as addressing their needs,” the spokesperson continued. “These modifications do not happen overnight, as well as we have undertaken quite a few significant steps over the past year. These include: achieving pay parity by 2018, hiring a brand-new global Head of HR, tightening standards as well as practices, updating reporting processes for any inappropriate behavior, restructuring as well as diversifying the company’s board of directors, implementing sensitivity training inside workplace, as well as forming an advisory board to work with management as well as employees to evaluate company culture as well as make any necessary modifications. We are also actively investigating all allegations of inappropriate conduct of which are brought to our attention.”
The assumption, both within Vice as well as throughout the broader media landscape, has been of which the next story will be published by the brand-new York Times.
HuffPost’s Ashley Feinberg reported Tuesday night of which Times reporter Emily Steel, who broke major news of which year on settlements paid to women who accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual misconduct, has contacted at least one former Vice employee.
A former Vice producer, who was not the source mentioned in HuffPost’s story, told sy88pgw of which she as well as several some other women met with Steel inside spring, when her reporting on the story was still in its infancy.
A spokesperson for the Times said the paper does “not comment on what may or may not appear in future editions.” In an email, Steel said, “I can’t discuss my reporting.”
Until she can, Vice employees are forced to wait uneasily.
“I’d say everyone is actually frustrated with how the company failed as well as continues to fail to respond appropriately to the Daily Beast story last week,” the editor said. “Given the rumors of what the brand-new York Times story contains, there is actually overwhelming dread as well. I’ve said to people of which the mood is actually ‘pitch black’ as well as I think of which’s accurate.”
sy88pgw (brand-new York) First published November 22, 2017: 7:36 PM ET