From the New York Times:
At Vice, Cutting-Edge Media and Allegations of Old-School Sexual HarassmentThis must have been the first time in the history of the Coney Island Ferris wheel that that ever happened.
A media company built on subversion and outlandishness was unable to create “a safe and inclusive workplace” for women, two of its founders acknowledge.
By EMILY STEEL DEC. 23, 2017
One woman said she was riding a Ferris wheel at Coney Island after a company event when a co-worker suddenly took her hand and put it on his crotch.
… The workplace problems were particularly disappointing, many women said, because they had viewed Vice as their dream opportunity. The company didn’t pay well, some said, but it was the definition of cool for those who wanted to create entertainment and journalism on the cutting edge. The company bestowed select staff members rings that spell V-I-C-E — considered the ultimate prize.“V-I-C-E” … Hhmmhhmmh … I dunno, but there’s something a little suspicious seeming about the letters “V-I-C-E” … It’s almost like they’re trying to send a message or something …
People worked long hours and partied together afterward. And that’s where the lines often blurred. Multiple women said that after a night of drinking, they wound up fending off touching, kissing and other advances from their superiors. …Even at Vice, virtually every woman who dishes dirt in Weinsteingate is, at least in her own recounting, a paragon of virtue, with every informant uniformly “fending off” advances, never giving in to them.
When the Columbia Journalism Review published its article, it included a quote from Nancy Ashbrooke, the former human resources director at Vice, stating that since she joined the company in 2014 sexual harassment had “not been an issue.” (Ms. Ashbrooke worked as vice president of human resources at Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax Films from 1991 to 2000.) …Seriously, there used to be a lot of emphasis in sexual harassment law on a “pattern” of abuse rather than just punishing men for a single drunken post-party pass on the Coney Island Ferris wheel that gets rejected. But our culture seems to be rapidly evolving toward a new rule where any single thing a man ever does must be punishable for any length of time. Thus, out of all the countless sleazy stuff that must have happened in the history of Vice, the one anecdote that gets pride of place in this article is the Coney Island Ferris wheel incident.
Current and former employees disputed Ms. Ashbrooke’s statement.
Kate Goss, a former project manager at Vice, said that in the summer of 2015 she reported an incident that occurred after a work event to her bosses and human resources. She said that on the Ferris wheel at Coney Island a creative director put her hand in his crotch without her consent. Ms. Goss said Ms. Ashbrooke told her there needed to be multiple incidents in order for her to take action against the other employee.