Following an exposé in The New York Times last month that portrayed a culture of sexual misconduct at Vice, the edgy digital media company has placed two top executives on leave.
President Andrew Creighton and chief digital officer Mike Germano have both been suspended, Vice’s newly-appointed chief operating officer Sarah Broderick wrote in an internal memo yesterday morning. The company’s board is currently reviewing a $135,000 settlement that Creighton reached with a former employee, who says she was fired after rejecting a relationship with him, according to the Times. The company will be determining Creighton’s fate at a Jan. 11 board meeting, and he will remain on suspension until then.
Germano is also being suspended pending investigations by Vice’s human resources team as well as an outside firm into two allegations — that he told an employee he hadn’t hired her because he wanted to have sex, and for pulling another staffer onto his lap. Germano has been at Vice for roughly five years, while Creighton joined all the way back in 2002.
In its investigation, the Times found that Vice had settled four suits related to sexual harassment or defamation, while more than two dozen women at the company claimed to have either experienced or witnessed unwanted physical contact or lewd talk. In response, Vice said it was hiring a new head of human resources and would mandate sexual harassment training for all employees. In a letter published to the company’s website, co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi acknowledged that “a detrimental ‘boy’s club’ culture” had been allowed to proliferate under their watch.
In November, Vice formed a female advisory committee — with help from noted feminist Gloria Steinem — to help improve its workplace culture in response to other sexual harassment claims. The company also said it plans to institute pay parity for all employees by the end of 2018.