Home » Vice Media CEO abruptly ends virtual meeting about staff lay-offs due to flood of thumbs-down emojis

Vice Media CEO abruptly ends virtual meeting about staff lay-offs due to flood of thumbs-down emojis

by Marko Florentino
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A virtual town hall meeting to discuss lay-offs at Vice Media was abruptly cut short last week after executives complained about a flood of “thumbs-down” emojis overtaking the screen.

Chief content officer Cory Haik was giving an update to the company about recently announced job cuts on Wednesday when angry emoji reactions began to pour in.

“It’s a very, very, very difficult time in the macro landscape, I think you all know that, I’ve talked about that a lot,” she began to explain.

“The Vice publishing business is now going to operate as a smaller, break-even business. It is no longer unprofitable, but it is a much smaller offering.”

But Vice Media chief executive Bruce Dixon interrupted Haik’s comments to ditch the meeting altogether.

“It’s impossible to ignore the emojis from our side,” he said.


Vice Media CCO Cory Haik
Chief content officer Cory Haik was giving an update to the company about recently announced job cuts on Wednesday when angry emoji reactions began to pour in. tiktok.com/@bobbymang666

“And I think we’re going to organize this in a way where we can actually give the information to people who want to receive it in the way it’s meant. Thank you for your time and your presence in terms of trying to explain that. I think let’s progress with our own town halls on this. Thank you for all the questions we have received, we’ll do our best to answer those in a forum that makes sense for this company.”

Video of the meeting was posted to TikTok by user bobbymang666 and shared online by current and former Vice staffers, The Daily Beast reported.

“Cory Haik’s salary was approximately $726,068 last year. What a joke,” one user commented.

“They can’t handle emojis?” another asked.

Users described the collapse of Vice as “wild,” suggesting “Vice should do a piece on the fall of Vice”.

“It is unfortunate that employees remaining with the organization who greatly want to contribute to its success were sabotaged by a few bad actors,” a Vice Media spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

“We understand that emotions are running high after such a significant change to the company and will continue to communicate. Our strategic vision moving forward is the right one for Vice.”

Vice Media announced last month that it planned to sack several hundred employees and no longer publish material on its flagship Vice.com website, all but marking the end of a years-long decline for the edgy “punk rock” news giant once valued at an incredible $US5.7 billion.


Vice Media company sign and For Lease sign on a building wall in Los Angeles, with a parking lot visible.
Vice Media chief executive Bruce Dixon interrupted Haik’s comments to ditch the meeting altogether. ALLISON DINNER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The company filed for bankruptcy last May before being sold for $350 million to a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group.

 The New York Times reported the company was left with around 900 people on staff.

In his memo announcing the latest job cuts, Mr Dixon did not give a specific number other than saying hundreds of people would be affected.

He said it was no longer cost-effective for Vice to distribute its digital content the way it had been and it would put more emphasis on its social channels, while shifting to a studio model.

“I know that saying goodbye to our valued colleagues is difficult and feels overwhelming, but this is the best path forward for Vice as we position the company for long-term creative and financial success,” Mr Dixon said.

Other digital news sites including BuzzFeed News, Jezebel and Messenger have shut down over the past year, while traditional media outlets have also been forced to cut staff in the face of economic headwinds.





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