Vice’s president, chief digital officer on leave after harassment claims
July 15, 2018 | 84° | Check Traffic

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Vice’s president, chief digital officer on leave after harassment claims

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    The Facebook page of Vice Media, as seen today. Two Vice Media executives’ futures at the company are uncertain in the wake of sexual harassment allegations from a number of female employees.

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Two Vice Media executives’ futures at the company are uncertain in the wake of sexual harassment allegations from a number of female employees.

The media company reportedly told staffers that president Andrew Creighton and chief digital officer Mike Germano are on leave in an internal memo this morning, according to the New York Times.

The leadership change comes a little over one week after more than 100 employees came forward to the Times with stories revealing a “toxic environment” at the millennial-focused company.

In a wide-ranging story, Vice employees claimed sexual harassment and gender discrimination ran rampant in the office — and that the company had doled out four settlements over the years involving sexual harassment and defamation allegations.

Creighton, 45, was reportedly involved in one in 2016, in which he paid $135,000 to an ex-employee who alleged she was fired after she denied his request for an intimate relationship.

Creighton said in a statement to the Times that he was close friends with the woman before she joined the company, and that he was not involved in the decision to fire her.

In today’s memo, Vice’s chief financial officer Sarah Broderick reportedly told employees that facts regarding Creighton’s settlement were currently under review by a special committee of the company’s board, but added that the allegations had previously been reviewed by an independent law firm in 2016.

Creighton will remain out of the office until at least Jan. 11, by which date the committee plans to make a recommendation on the matter.

Germano, meanwhile, also faces several allegations, including one from a woman who claimed he told her he didn’t want to hire her because he wanted to sleep with her at a holiday party in 2012.

Another woman alleged that Germano pulled her onto his lap at a bar in 2014.

Germano apologized in a statement, saying the issue of the 2014 incident had previously been resolved with the help of the human resources department.

He, too, will remain out of the office until an outside investigator and Vice’s human resources department can fully investigate the allegations, according to the Times.

Helena Donahue, an ex-social media editor, took to Twitter to chime in with horror stories of her own.

“I quit journalism. I quit writing. A world like this was not safe for me. I felt like I was under water every day and no one could hear me scream, or they looked away. And-as my ex-colleagues know- I quite literally screamed about it. A lot,” she wrote.

Founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi admitted in a statement to the Times that they had “failed as a company to create and safe and inclusive workplace.”

In the memo announcing Creighton and Germano’s leave, Broderick detailed steps the company planned on taking to change the office culture, including a new human resources head, mandatory sexual harassment training and a commitment to pay parity by 2018’s end.

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