A recent investigation into the Vice workplace has led to startling realizations of a ‘boys club’ culture surrounding the magazine. Several settlements, as well as countless reports of sexual harassment, have been uncovered, hinting at a broader dilemma of sexism within the company and an even more worrying pattern of silencing the women who have chosen to speak up.
Accounts of harassment in the workplace, all similar to one another, have been brought to light through reports made by both former and current employees of Vice. These stories range from inappropriate touching to propositions for sex, yet all stem from the same initial issue. These accounts display a clear pattern of sexist behavior fostered within the organization, demonstrating a clear need for change in the Vice workplace.
In addition to reports of sexual assault and harassment at the magazine, an investigation by the New York Times revealed four settlements made by the company with various employees in connection with the issue. Three of the aforementioned settlements included allegations of sexual harassment, even pertaining to the president of the company, and the fourth case involved an agreement reached following a defamation lawsuit. These settlements are a definite illustration of a culture that pushes to silence victims of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.
In light of this recent investigation, the presidents of Vice, Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi, have issued apologies, as well as emphasizing the improved system that the company will use to prevent sexual assault and harassment in the future. In their statement, Smith and Alvi apologized for the “dysfunction and mismanagement” of the company, citing the rampant inappropriate behavior in the Vice workplace. They have promised to improve the culture of the magazine in the future, as a new director of HR has been hired and Gloria Steinem, the renowned feminist, has joined their advisory board.
The behavior of men towards their female coworkers at Vice Magazine clearly displays inexcusable behavior in the workplace. The investigations regarding the issue also exhibit extreme instances of men in power working to silence victims who speak up. While revealing flaws within the culture of one specific company, the findings of the New York Times investigation provides evidence of a much larger problem involving sexism and the abuse of power that is ingrained in our society.