A breaking New York Times investigation into Vice Media television channel found the company was "built on subversion
and outlandishness was unable to create 'a safe and inclusive workplace' for women, two of its founders acknowledge."
One such instance of sexual misconduct stemmed from a ride on a Ferris wheel at Coney Island after a company event. A woman was riding the Ferris wheel when a co-worker suddenly took her hand and put it on his crotch.
Another woman claims she was sexually pressured into a relationship with a top executive and was later fired after refusing his advances. The stories of these women are in stark contrast to the image of a cutting-edge company known for bringing edgy content.
To hear a company with such a wide influence such as Vice is steeped in such a negative culture is disheartening. What started as a fringe Canadian magazine has grown into a nearly $6 billion global media company.
The investigation by the Times found not only four settlements involving allegations of sexual harassment or defamation against employees of Vice but also against its current president.
Another two dozen women, mostly in their 20's and 30's, said they too experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct at the company. In settlements of the many harassment cases, the women allege a top-down ethos of male entitlement at Vice.
The women say they felt like another party favor at an organization where partying was often an extension of the job. A journalist named Kayla Ruble said, "The misogyny might look different than you would have expected it to in the 1950s, but it was still there, it was still ingrained."
Ruble went on to say, "This is a wakeup call." The company, for the most part, has been open about its provocative atmosphere but now in the wake of recent sexual allegations that garnered a worldwide response, the company is struggling to reconcile its past.
Sandra Miller, head of branded production at Vice from 2014-2016, said, "There is a toxic environment where men can say the most disgusting things, joke about sex openly, and overall a toxic environment where women are treated far inferior than men."
Miller went on to describe how people worked long hours and then partied together afterward and that is where the lines were frequently blurred.
The company is known for covering streetwear, drugs, and sex, as well as its raging parties but is struggling to change now with giant corporate backers like Disney and Fox.
Vice settled with victims including Vice's president, Andrew Creighton, who paid $135,000 to a former employee who was fired after she turned down his sexual advances. The company has also settled similar suites with at least three others for undisclosed amounts.
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