Valence Media, parent company for outlets including Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Vibe, Dick Clark Productions and Media Capital Rights, laid off more than 100 staffers Tuesday (April 14), reports CNN, slashing more than a third of its media jobs.
Among the media staff that exited yesterday are Vibe Deputy Editor William Ketchum III, and staffers for Vibe and Billboard including Lauren Craddock, Will Gottsegen, Bianca Gracie, Hilary Hughes, Chris Payne, Annie Reuter, Desire Thompson and more. The layoffs came shortly after Hollywood Reporter editorial director Matthew Belloni stepped down from his role after clashes with Valence Media’s management.
Additionally, Variety reports that all members of Billboard‘s IT staffers were let go, according to a scornful article that was published late Tuesday evening (April 14) to Billboard‘s website. The article’s byline was titled “devops,” and featured a photo of the character Flounder from the movie National Lampoon’s Animal House, as well as a quote from the movie.
The now-deleted article on Billboard‘s site read, “In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, Valence Media has decided to lay off their entire web IT staff. Effective today. The online Billboard Charts are essentially perfect, so IT staff are no longer needed. Fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life… #SavingABuckAtYourExpense.”
Deadline obtained a copy of an internal memo from Valence Media co-CEOs Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk that attributes the layoffs to advertising impacts from coronavirus, but also to a restructuring that was planned prior to the pandemic.
“Each of our divisions was affected differently, dependent on the specifics of the business. The greatest impact was on our Media division, which underwent layoffs and a restructuring, part of which was a response to advertising market conditions and part of which was an acceleration of actions that were planned for 2020-2021,” the memo reads.
The memo also states that hiring freezes and salary reductions have taken place, with salary reductions only affecting staffers making more than $100,000 per year. The memo states that staffers whose salaries are impacted are eligible for a program that will enable them to recoup the contributions based on the future success of the company. Satchu and Wiczyk noted they are not taking a salary and will not participate in the recoupment program.
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