New York Times report reveals Vice Media swam in a culture of racism and sexism
According to a New York Times report, Vice Media has been a cesspool of sexism that closely mirrors the way that the “old boys club” of Hollywood has been functioning, despite its reputation for subverting cultural norms and exposing long-standing social issues. In the report, four settlements are uncovered, one of which is a $135,000 lawsuit against the current president, Andrew Creighton, who is accused of propositioning a former employee to have a romantic relationship with him.
Additionally, the report mentions that 24 women ranging in age from their 20’s to their 30’s have alleged a variety of sexual misconduct in Vice‘s workplace, all the way from groping to propositions for sex. The New York Times report is based on interviews with 100 current and former Vice employees, some of whom broke confidentiality agreements to speak up about their experiences.
Former employee Kayla Ruble, who worked for the company from 2014-2016, explained, “The misogyny might look different than you would have expected it to in the 1950s, but it was still there, it was still ingrained…This is a wakeup call.”
Another woman recounted stories such as being asked what color her nipples are and if she had sex with Black men. After an event at Coney Island, a co-worker allegedly took another woman’s hand and placed it on his crotch, another woman says she was fired after refusing an executive’s sexual advances, and yet another woman says that she had to use her umbrella to fend off an unwanted kiss.
Vice‘s co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi issued a statement following the New York Times report:
Cultural elements from our past, dysfunction and mismanagement were allowed to flourish unchecked. That includes a detrimental “boy’s club” culture that fostered inappropriate behavior that permeated throughout the company. It happened on our watch, and ultimately we let far too many people down. We are truly sorry for this.
Vice has also created a Diversity and Inclusion Board, a more robust sexual harassment reporting process, and removed their “non-traditional workplace agreement” in response to the New York Times report. As a Salon article responding to the incident notes, a misogynistic workplace environment is not limited to older (white) men but can easily be implemented by younger men in this patriarchal society and culture.