Yet more people in the media have fallen to allegations of sexual harassment. This time it was Vice Media announcing that two top executives were out for the duration of a sexual harassment investigation.
CNN reports that company president Andrew Creighton and chief digital officer Mike Germano have been “put on leave” after the New York Times reported allegations against the executives.
The Times article hit during the weekend before Christmas, offering allegations of “misconduct” at Vice, and including multiple settlements reached to settle allegations of either harassment or defamation. In at least one case, a former employee claims to have been fired because she refused to enter into a relationship with Creighton.
Vice Denies Claims
Vice has publicly denied those claims, saying it was the fired employee who had been after a relationship with Creighton and was rebuffed. The allegations, the statement says, are sour grapes over being denied and subsequently being let go. That version of events, though, is tainted by the fact that the employee in question was paid about $135,000 in a settlement after the firing.
Two women have accused Germano of misconduct, according to the Times article and the CNN report. One claims she was not hired because Germano wanted to have sex with her. The other woman says she was at a bar with Germano for a work event and he pulled her onto his lap.
Germano says he apologized after the fact, saying he “agreed it was inappropriate” and that the incident was “resolved with the help of HR.”
The question now becomes is Vice comfortable keeping the men on staff while the chance remains they will become part of more negative headlines in the future. In most cases, news agencies are not happy to become headlines … especially when some of their own are accused of bad behavior.
Time Will Tell
But, it’s been happening a lot lately, and the precedent of inviting a previously suspended employee back has been made by, perhaps ironically, the New York Times. So, if these allegations don’t pan out, it’s not certain Germano and Creighton will be let go permanently. They could be back in their previous positions relatively soon.
It may be that the ferocity of the “me too” movement is starting to lose some steam. For a while, multiple men were being outed and ousted every week. That trend has tapered off significantly in recent weeks. However, if the wave of rage against harassment that has felled huge names in media continues, these two Vice executives could end up being another “and these guys too” footnote in history. Time will tell.