New Yorker has published a long read about Vice, the magazine-turned-multimedia-empire founded in Montreal by billionaire bighead Shane Smith, Suroosh Albi, and right-wing nutjob Gavin McInnes. It is uncompromising in terms of how the company's culture went bad... very bad.
Both male and female Vice employees told me that beyond the allegations of harassment and assault, which were distressing enough, the company's culture also had an impact on its bottom line. Consensual interoffice romances were rampant, which led to constant tension, and Vice seemed to show a strange loyalty to longtime employees who were promoted into managerial positions that did not seem to suit them. After multiple employees complained about one current manager, who was friends with Smith, one of them was told by HR, "We've heard a lot about him, but it's in Shane's hands." (Smith denies protecting anyone.) Many people described a phenomenon they called "rubber rooming" — a reference to the New York City Department of Education's former practice of forcing suspended teachers to sit in a room while serving out their probation — by which some problematic employees were shuffled into positions where it wasn't clear what they did or why they were kept around. (It did not surprise anyone to find out in the Times story that Vice's former head of HR had previously worked for Harvey Weinstein's Miramax.)Reeves Wiedeman