Following an in-depth and damning report on its toxic workplace, Vice has suspended two of its chief executives, including president Andrew Creighton.
Last month, The New York Times’ Emily Steel published a lengthy exposé on the culture of sexual harassment at the media company which, since having been co-founded by enfant terrible-types Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi, has partnered with HBO and is now poised to nest under Disney’s corporate banner after the media conglomerate acquired 21st Century Fox. More than 100 former and current Vice employees were interviewed, leading to the revelation that several harassment settlements had been paid out over the years. In some cases, higher-ups tried to pressure female staffers into sexual relationships, then retaliated when they were rejected; others, like veteran music journalist and author Jessica Hopper, settled defamation claims against the company following its shitty editorial decisions.
Upon its publication, Smith and Alvi issued a statement citing the “boys club” culture that led to “inappropriate behavior that permeated throughout the company.” Now Steel reports that Vice’s COO/CFO Sarah Broderick sent a memo to staff Tuesday morning announcing the suspension of Creighton, who paid a $135,000 settlement in 2016 to a former employee who said she was fired after turning him down, and Mike Germano, who’s served as chief digital officer. Germano founded Carrot Creative, which was acquired by Vice in 2013; he’s been accused of pulling a former colleague onto his lap at a company party, as well as telling his former strategist Amanda Rue he originally didn’t want to hire her “because he wanted to have sex with her.”
According to Variety, Broderick has also indicated that the allegations against Creighton, which led to his 2016 settlement, would be reviewed again. There will also be an investigation into the claims against Germano, who will remain on leave until it’s concluded.