Known for edgy content

Least surprising news ever: Vice is another hotbed of sexism. No, really?!

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. Another said she felt pressured into a sexual relationship with an executive and was fired after she rejected him.

A third said that a co-worker grabbed her face and tried to kiss her, and she used her umbrella to fend him off.

These women did not work among older men at a hidebound company. They worked at Vice, an insurgent force in news and entertainment known for edgy content that aims for millennial audiences on HBO and its own TV network.

Wut? Is Emily Steel kidding? The “edgy” ones are the worst. The “edgy” ones think pushing women around is an important part of being “edgy.” (I think that’s what Al Franken was doing – not so much copping a feel as performing copping a feel, as part of his persona.) The “edgy” ones think women are the enemy of “edgy” and that cool rebellious dudes have to overturn all that Puritan shit about not grabbing people who haven’t asked to be grabbed…except not actually people of course, just women.

But as Vice Media has built itself from a fringe Canadian magazine into a nearly $6 billion global media company, its boundary-pushing culture created a workplace that was degrading and uncomfortable for women, current and former employees say.

Of course it did. So many men think of women as standing for “boundary” while they stand for boundary-pushing. Pushing boundaries is more of a guy thing, it doesn’t have that estrogen vibe.

The settlements and the many episodes of harassment the women described depict a top-down ethos of male entitlement at Vice, where women said they felt like just another party favor at an organization where partying often was an extension of the job.

What stands out about the women’s accounts — in the wake of a public reckoning over sexual assault and harassment by mostly older men — is that the allegations involve men in their 20s, 30s and 40s who came of age long after workplace harassment was not only taboo but outlawed.

That might have surprised me around 2010 or so, but since then? No. We’ve seen far too much of the “edgy” bro culture to be surprised now. The fact that sexual harassment is taboo and outlawed is just all the more reason to push that boundary, mofo.

“The misogyny might look different than you would have expected it to in the 1950s, but it was still there, it was still ingrained,” said Kayla Ruble, a journalist who worked at Vice from 2014 to 2016. “This is a wakeup call.”

Wakeup call number 475,823,659.

8 Responses to “Known for edgy content”

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting