Founders of the millennial-focused media company, Vice Media, issued an apology on Saturday, regarding the company’s work atmosphere. Co-founders Suroosh Alvi and Shane Smith released a statement after the New York Times published a story outlining four settlements by the company involving allegations of sexual harassment or defamation against the company’s employees. The newspaper also reported that more than two dozen women had experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct at the company.
Here are a few excerpts from the statement the co-founders released:
“As most of you know, The New York Times has been working on a piece about the workplace culture here at Vice. The Times is planning to run the story online shortly.
“Listening to our employees over the past year, the truth is inescapable: from the top down, we have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive. 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.
“As you know, we have already taken action regarding multiple instances of unacceptable behavior, resulting in the termination of three employees. We will continue to investigate all allegations that are brought to our attention.
“We understand that this had an impact on current and former employees at Vice, and we want to express our deepest apologies to them, as well as our extreme regret for our role in perpetuating sexism in the media industry and society in general.
“Our failures stem from a) our ignorance, b) the inability to see the impact of our rapid growth, and c) the internal dysfunction that ensued. To be clear it was not any kind of intentional, company-level systemic bias. This doesn’t excuse our mistakes, but we hope it gives you confidence in our desire and ability to get it right.
“We can no longer be a part of the problem – particularly if, as journalists and storytellers, we want to investigate and cover the many injustices in the world today.
No matter your gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, at Vice, we will listen to and amplify your stories, and we will make this a company in which we can all take pride.
Shane and Suroosh”