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How ‘Vice’ Went from a $6 Billion Media Empire to Bankruptcy

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the downfall of Vice Media, a once-prominent media company, due to controversies surrounding its past and the demands of its employees for the company to change its ways.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The Beginning of the End for Vice Media

1. What led to the beginning of the end for Vice Media?

  • A New York Times report exposed the "boys' club" atmosphere at Vice, leading to employees publicly condemning the company's past and demanding it start acting like a different company.
  • Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith retreated from the New York office, and control of the company was transferred to a female CEO, Nancy Dubuc.
  • Vice's leadership argued that the Times story ignored complicating facts to sustain a predetermined narrative, but profuse apologies were demanded and frequently repeated.

2. How did Vice employees respond to the company's past?

  • Employees demanded that the magazine covers charting Vice's transformation be removed from the walls of the company's Brooklyn headquarters, citing issues with the covers, such as those shot by the photographer Terry Richardson and the "We Love Cops" cover.
  • The removal of the covers was seen as a "surrender" by longtime Vice employees, who expressed a collective incredulity at the company's response.

3. What happened to Vice's online content?

  • Old Vice articles were discreetly "memory-holed" from the website, replaced with the statement "We have concluded that this article does not meet Vice Media Group's editorial standards. It has been removed."
  • This airbrushing of the past for the sake of psychological safety in the present was seen as a harbinger of the "grimness to come" and a sign that the company's leadership should have reckoned with the reality that "our workforce hated our brand."
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