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Vice suspends 2 top executives after sexual misconduct report

Vice suspends 2 top executives after sexual misconduct report
Vice has grown from a Canadian magazine into a dominant online video company, expanding into TV around the world. (Vice)

Vice Media has suspended two top executives after a New York Times report on sexual misconduct at the digital media company.

Vice has suspended its president, Andrew Creighton, and chief digital officer, Mike Germano, as it investigates allegations against them, according to a company memo sent to employees Tuesday. A Vice spokesman declined to comment.

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The New York Times reported in late December that it found four settlements involving allegations that Vice employees, including Creighton, committed sexual harassment or defamation. The newspaper talked with more than two dozen women who said they experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct, including groping and forced kisses.

Vice Media co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi have apologized for the "boys' club" culture.

Vice has grown from a Canadian magazine into a dominant online video company, expanding into TV around the world.

In the memo, the company said that Creighton and Germano were the only two people named in the Times story who were still employed at Vice.

The New York Times reported that Vice paid a former female employee a $135,000 settlement in 2016 after she said she was fired when she rejected Creighton's advances. The Vice memo says that her claims were found to lack merit at the time after a review by a law firm, but that a special committee of its board is looking at the matter now. It will make a recommendation on what to do before a Jan. 11 board meeting.

As for Germano, the memo says Vice's human resources department and an external investigator are looking into the allegations. One woman told the New York Times that he had told her he didn't want to hire her because he wanted to have sex with her. Another woman said he pulled her onto his lap at a work event at a bar.

The memo — from Sarah Broderick, Vice's chief operating officer and chief financial officer — said the company will require sexual harassment training for all employees starting this month and that the company is "committed" to having half of employees be female "at every level across the organization" by 2020. She said "pay parity" would come by the end of the year.

The reports of sexual misconduct at Vice are part of a wave of allegations of bad behavior in media, entertainment and other industries, as well as politics, that have come in the aftermath of allegations last year that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein committed rape and harassment for decades.

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