Vice Media placed its president, Andrew Creighton, and its chief digital officer, Mike Germano, on leave after sexual harassment allegations were reported against them in a New York Times investigation that detailed the treatment of women at the company.
Vice employees learned of the moves in a memo sent to the staff on Tuesday morning.
Sarah Broderick, Vice’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said in the memo that a special committee of the company’s board was “reviewing the facts” related to a $135,000 settlement Mr. Creighton had reached in 2016 with a former employee, who claimed that she was fired after she rejected an intimate relationship with him, according to people briefed on the matter and documents viewed by The Times.
The committee plans to make a recommendation regarding the matter to senior management before the company’s Jan. 11 board meeting, and Mr. Creighton will remain out of the office on leave until then, Ms. Broderick said.
Ms. Broderick said that the allegations involving the 2016 settlement had been reviewed at the time by an independent law firm, the claim “was found to lack merit,” and the company had settled to “avoid the expense and distraction of litigation.”
In an earlier statement to The Times, Mr. Creighton apologized for the situation, said that he and the woman had been “close friends” and that they were “occasionally intimate” once she had begun working at Vice Media. He said he was not involved in the decision to let her go.
Vice also said that Mr. Germano would remain out of the office pending investigations by the company’s human resources department and an outside investigator into claims against him. Among the allegations against Mr. Germano are that he told a former employee at a holiday party in 2012 that he had not wanted to hire her because he wanted to have sex with her; and that, in 2014, he had allegedly pulled an employee onto his lap.
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