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Vice suspends two after misconduct claims

Vice Media has suspended two top executives, including its president, following a New York Times (NYT) report about sexual misconduct at the company.

Andrew Creighton

Andrew Creighton, who co-founded the UK division of Vice in 2002 and became president of the company in 2011, has been suspended along with chief digital officer Mike Germano.

Vice chief operating officer and chief financial officer Sarah Broderick announced the suspensions in an internal memo sent to staff, according to US reports.

The NYT report includes an apology from Creighton, while Germano said he had apologised for an incident involving him and “agreed at the time it was inappropriate.”

Broderick said that the claims regarding Germano will be investigated by Vice’s human resources department and an external investigator, while a special committee of Vice’s board is looking at the incident involving Creighton.

It follows the recent publication of the NYT’s report that made claims regarding sexual misconduct at Vice, which is in the process of launching its TV network Viceland around the world.

These included descriptions of “a toxic environment where women are treated far inferior than men” according to Sandra Miller, who worked as head of branded production at Vice from 2014 to 2016.

Vice co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi issued a joint statement to coincide with the publication of the NYT report late last month that acknowledged failings at the company.

“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,” said Smith and Alvi.

“Cultural elements from our past, dysfunction and mismanagement were allowed to flourish unchecked. That includes a detrimental ‘boy’s club’ culture that fostered inappropriate behaviour that permeated throughout the company. It happened on our watch, and ultimately we let far too many people down. We are truly sorry for this.”

Broderick’s memo reiterated Vice’s commitment to ensure that 50% of roles at every level of the organisation are taken up by women by 2020. It is also aiming to achieve pay parity by the end of 2018 and said all those who work at Vice, both full-time and freelance, will participate in mandatory sexual harassment training.

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