Investigation Uncovers Sexual Misconduct Settlements, Toxic Environment at Vice Media

An investigation into Vice Media released Saturday found hundreds of current and former employees alleging a pervasive culture of harassment toward women, as well as four past settlements made over sexual harassment and defamation experienced in the workplace.

One 2016 settlement involved Vice President Andrew Creighton, who paid $135,000 to a former female employee who alleged that she was fired for rejecting a sexual relationship with him, according to The New York Times.

Vice co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi acknowledged to the Times that “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.”

In the three other settlements, dating back to 2003, women were paid after making claims of unwanted sexual advances, retaliation after sexual relationships, and one complaint over a published claim that a writer had sex with a source.

In addition, more than two dozen female employees at Vice, typically in their 20s or 30s, told the Times that they experienced sexual misconduct at the media outlet, including unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate touching from male higher-ups at the company.

Women said that employees at the startup venture would often throw parties after work at bars and restaurants, where male bosses would often drink heavily and make advances toward them.

The co-founders admitted that the company had a “boys club” culture and “fostered inappropriate behavior that permeated throughout the company.”

“It happened on our watch,” Smith and Alvi said in a joint statement. “And ultimately we let far too many people down. We are truly sorry for this.”

The co-founders offered their “extreme regret for our role in perpetuating sexism in the media industry and society in general.”

The investigation comes at a time when sexual allegations sweeping the media and entertainment industries have ended the careers of top journalists at news networks including NBC, Fox News and CBS.

The Hill