Vice suspends 2 top execs in wake of sexual harassment allegations

Vice Media has suspended two senior executives — president Andrew Creighton and chief digital officer Mike Germano — following a New York Times report last month detailing sexual harassment allegations against them.

The company’s decision to put the two execs on leave was announced in a memo to staff Tuesday from Vice COO/CFO Sarah Broderick (read the full memo below). The news was first reported by Times reporter Emily Steel, who wrote the exposé on Vice that was published Dec. 23.

A Vice rep declined to comment.

Also in her memo Tuesday, Broderick noted that Vice has committed to attaining a 50-50 ratio of male and female employees “at every level across the organization” by 2020 and set a goal of achieving pay parity by the end of 2018.

According to the NYT, Creighton paid $135,000 in 2016 to a former Vice employee after she alleged she was fired after rejecting his suggestion they have a romantic relationship.

Broderick, in the memo sent Tuesday morning, said the claim against Creighton was reviewed in 2016 by an independent law firm and was “found to lack merit, but the company agreed to settle the matter in order to avoid the expense and distraction of litigation.” However, she said, a special committee of Vice’s board is reviewing the matter and will make a recommendation about Creighton’s employment status prior to the company’s Jan. 11 board meeting. “In the meantime, Andrew has suggested, and we agree, that he remain out of the office on leave until the recommendation from the committee is made to Sr. management,” Broderick wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Variety.

High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct
See Gallery
High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing dozens of women, including a number of well-known celebrities, over the past several decades.

(REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)

Matt Lauer was fired from 'Today' after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly included giving a co-worker a sex toy and dropping his pants in front of a female employee in his office.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Actor Jeffrey Tambor has been accused of sexual assault by two women from the Amazon series, "Transparent."  

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Eleven women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

 CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves resigned from the company, the company said on Sunday, amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

(Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx)

Sen. Al Franken is accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Director Woody Allen has been accused of sexual assault by his daughter, Dylan Farrow. She says she experienced inappropriate behavior by her adoptive father on several occasions.

(REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

Hundreds of women accused longtime Hollywood writer and director James Toback of sexual harassment.


Comedian Louis C.K. has been accused of forcing women to watch him masturbate, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Director Bret Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of making a sexual advance towards him when he was 14 years old.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Roger Ailes, the former president of Fox News Channel, was accused of sexually harassing former anchor Gretchen Carlson and several other women from the network.

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Several women accused TV host Charlie Rose of sexual misconduct, including groping and lewd phone calls.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Bill Cosby has faced sexual assault allegations from about 60 women, including several women who claim he drugged them.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Four women, including several that were also fellow Scientologists, have accused actor Danny Masterson of sexual assault, according to HuffPost.

 (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Mark Schwahn, the former "One Tree Hill" showrunner, was accused of sexual harassment by a large number of the show's cast and crew.

(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Actor Casey Affleck settled lawsuits out of court wth two women who accused him of sexual harassment.  

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Film Independent)

Bill O'Reilly has reportedly made numerous settlements with women who accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Anthony Weiner, a former Democratic congressman was sentenced to 21 months in prison in September 2017 after pleading guilty to sexting a teenage girl.


Veteran journalist Mark Halperin has been accused of sexually harassing women while he worked at ABC News.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Singer R. Kelly is accused of holding women against their will in houses in Illinois and Georgia in a reported 'sex cult.'

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Former Fox Host Eric Bolling was accused of sending unsolicited lewd text messages to female colleagues.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Director Roman Polanski fled the US after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Several other women have also come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Chef John Besh stepped down from the company he founded after female employees reported facing sexual harassment there. 

(Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

Photographer Terry Richardson was labeled the 'Harvey Weinstein of Fashion' by the Sunday Times amid widespread accusations of sexual harassment by models.

(Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)

Singer Kesha accused Lukasz Gottwald aka Dr. Luke of drugging and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions.

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Former champion boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping a Miss Black America contestant in 1992. 

(REUTERS/Michael Clevenger/POOL)

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of his former patients and athletes.


Music mogul L.A. Reid left his position as Epic Records CEO/Chairman in 2017 amid harassment claims by a female assistant.

(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned following reports that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress' allegation of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Chris Savino (right), creator of  'The Loud House' was suspended by Nickelodeon after being accused of making unwanted advances toward multiple women.

(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)

Actor Steven Seagal was accused of sexual misconduct by Inside Edition's chief investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images,)

Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director of National Public Radio, was accused of inappropriate conduct with two women in 1990s.

(REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad)

Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexually harassing a production assistant when he was 48 and she was a high school senior.

(REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)

Jeremy Piven was accused by actress Ariane Bellamar of groping her on two separate occasions. Piven 'unequivocally' denied the allegations.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Ben Affleck apologized for acting 'inappropriately' towards Hilarie Burton during an appearance on MTV's "Total Request Live" in 2003.

(REUTER/Dylan Martinez

Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman he went on a date with.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Andy Dick was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct on set, including groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing/licking and sexual propositions.

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, (D) Nevada, was accused of making repeated, unwanted propositions for dates and sex to a woman that once worked on his campaign.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Actor Ed Westwick was accused by actress Kristina Cohen of raping her in his home.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

David Guillod, producer of 'Atomic Blonde,' is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several woman.

(Photo by Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images)

Andrew Kreisberg, the showrunner for "Supergirl," was suspended in November 2017 amid numerous sexual harassment allegations by members of his staff.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Actor Tom Sizemore was reportedly told to leave a film set in 2003 after an 11-year-old actress told her mother that he had touched her genitals.

(REUTERS/Phil McCarten)

Steve Jurvetson left his own venture capital firm after allegations of sexual harassment

(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

A former model accused George Takei of sexually assaulting him 36 years ago.

(Photo by Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic)

Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulted her at an award ceremony in 2013.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

A former writer for 'Mad Men' said the show's creator Matthew Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Ron Jeremy has been accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women and the allegations span more than 30 years.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Multiple women accused producer Adam Fields of touching them inappropriately and sexually propositioning them.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

John Lasseter, the head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was accused of crossing the line with employees, including unwanted hugs.

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Singer Nick Carter was accused of rape by a former member of the all-girl teen band Dream, Melissa Schuman.

(Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

A singer accused billionaire Richard Branson of sexual assault during an event as his Necker Island in the Caribbean. Branson says he has no recollection of the matter.

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Talent agent Adam Venit is accused of grabbing actor Terry Crews' genitals.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez), Marilyn Manson former longtime bassist, was accused of rape by singer Jessicka Addams.

(Photo by Chris Weeks/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media's editorial director was fired after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by Hal Horowitz/WireImage for Haute Magazine)

Producer Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein's brother, has also been accused of sexual harassment. 

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Jesse Lacey of  the band, Brand New, was accused of sexual misconduct, including soliciting nude photos from a teen girl in the past.

(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)

Senior Correspondent for E! News Ken Baker California was accused of sexual harassment by two women.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

American film director Oliver Stone was accused of groping model and actress Carrie Stevens in the 1990s.

(Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Reporter Glenn Thrush was suspended by the New York Times after several women accused him of acting inappropriately when they were young journalists.

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Veteran radio host Garrison Keillor was fired by Minnesota Public Radio following claim of improper behavior.

(Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage)

CNN producer Teddy Davis was fired after multiple accusations of harassment.

(Photo via Twitter)

Producer Russell Simmons stepped down from his companies following sexual assault and harassment accusations from two women.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Longtime conductor James Levine was suspended by New York's Metropolitan Opera after sexual abuse claims.

(Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)

Dylan Howard, editor in chief of the National Enquirer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several former employees, including forcing them to watch porn and openly discussing his sexual partners.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

"X-Men" director Bryan Singer was accused of raping a 17-year-old boy on a yacht in a lawsuit filed in December.

(REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Harold Ford, Jr.

(Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chef Mario Batali has been accused by multiple women of "inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades."

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's show was suspended amid misconduct allegations made against him.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was fired from his job as an ESPN contributor amid accusations of sexual harassment by a wardrobe stylist at the network.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sen. Jeff Klein (D-New York), was accused of forcibly kissing a former female staffer back in 2015. 

(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)

Ross Levinsohn, Los Angeles Times CEO and publisher, has reportedly been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and would rate the "hotness" of his female colleagues, according to a report by NPR.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman accused magician David Copperfield of drugging, sexually assaulting her when she was teen model in the 80s, according to The Wrap.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

James Franco was accused by several women of sexually inappropriate behavior. He was also criticized for wearing a "Time's Up" pin to the Golden Globes hours before the accusations against him surfaced.

(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Barry Lubin, also known as Grandma the clown, resigned from Big Apple Circus after admitting to pressuring a 16-year-old girl into posing for pornographic photos in 2004.

(Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Arizona Wildcats head football coach Rich Rodriguez was fired amid troubling off-field allegations. His former administrative assistant says Rodriguez inappropriately grabbed and touched her. 

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was accused of sexual assault by pro-Trump singer Joy Villa. She claims he hit her on the buttocks during an event at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of peple. The Wall Street Journal the casino mogul regularly pressured employees to perform sex acts.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Music exec and 'The Four' judge Charlie Walk was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee. Life Lab founder Tristan Coopersmith penned an open letter about Walk in January claiming he sent her lewd comment and cornered her in the bedroom he shared with his wife.

(Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Vh1 Save The Music)

Several women filed sexual harassment complaints against Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle, according to the Washington Post.

(Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Actor Scott Baio, was accused of molesting is former 'Charles in Charge' co-star Nicole Eggert when she was a minor.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Paris Dennard, GOP commentator

(Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ryan Adams performs at the Marriott Rewards and Universal Music Present Music is Universal during the South by Southwest Music Festival at JW Marriott Austin on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP)

Germano is the founder and CEO of digital ad agency Carrot Creative, which Vice acquired in 2013. According to the New York Times story, Germano had told former strategist Amanda Rue at Carrot Creative’s holiday party in 2012 that he had not wanted to hire her “because he wanted to have sex with her.” Another former Carrot employee, Gabrielle Schaefer, told the Times that Germano had “pulled her onto his lap” at a company event at a bar in 2014.

In the staff memo, Broderick said the claims about Germano will be investigated by Vice’s HR team with an external investigator, “a process that Mike has encouraged, and Mike will be on leave until the investigation is concluded.” The day-to-day operations of Carrot in the meantime will be led by Adam Katzenback, reporting to Ryan Mack, COO of Vice’s creative agency Virtue Worldwide.

All told, the New York Times reported that more than 20 female employees at Vice were subject to or witnessed other employees experiencing sexual harassment.

In response to the Times story, Vice co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi acknowledged problems at the company in a statement. “From the top down, we have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive,” according to the statement from Smith and Alvi, neither of whom were accused directly of any misconduct in the NYT article.

Creighton and Germano are the only two Vice employees accused of misconduct in the Times piece who are still employed by the Brooklyn-based company.

In late November, Vice fired three employees for violations of its HR policies. That included Jason Mojica, head of Vice’s documentary films unit and former editor-in-chief of Mojica was accused by ex-Vice employee Martina Veltroni of retaliation after they had a sexual relationship, and Vice in 2016 reached a settlement for an unknown amount with Veltroni, the Times reported.

Vice has undertaken several steps to address harassment in the workplace, which also was the focus of a Daily Beast report in November. That has included hiring Vice global head of HR Susan Tohyama (formerly with the NBA); forming an advisory board with members including Gloria Steinem to advise Vice’s management and employees on workplace-conduct and diversity issues; eliminating the “nontraditional workplace agreement” that staffers were previously required to sign; and mandatory sexual-harassment training for all full-time employees and freelancers.

Investors in Vice include private-equity firm TPG, Disney, 21st Century Fox, WPP and Raine Group. Disney would acquire Fox’s stake in Vice under the companies’ pending deal announced last month.

Women who have accused high-profile men of sexual misconduct
See Gallery
Women who have accused high-profile men of sexual misconduct
Beverly Nelson (L) shows a school year book with attorney Gloria Allread during a news conference announcing new allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican congressional candidate Roy Moore, in New York, November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Gloria Thacker Deason came forward via the Washington Post with allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Wendy Miller came forward via the Washington Post with allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Debbie Wesson Gibson came forward via the Washington Post with allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Gena Richardson came forward via the Washington Post with allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Former staffer Marion Brown has accused Democratic Rep. John Conyers of sexual misconduct.
Leeann Tweeden came out with accusations of groping against Democratic Sen. Al Franken.

Read the full text of Broderick’s memo:


It is a new year. And a new year is a time for change – no more so than here at VICE. I wanted to reach out on the first day back from the holidays to make sure there are no misunderstandings about the way in which we are moving forward to change our workplace culture and ensure all our employees feel respected and supported.


In October, we began taking additional steps to put in place a more progressive, safe, inclusive, and empowering workplace that values every single employee. The immediate first step was hiring a new head of HR. Our need to make changes and to invest in HR is clear, and your voices on this have been heard. Susan Tohyama joined us in November as the new global head of HR and we have committed to providing Susan the resources and support she needs. I hope that you will give her the continued opportunity to build the HR organization that VICE deserves.

Susan, along with her local HR teams, will continue to communicate all new HR initiatives as we work to transform our workplace culture in 2018 – focusing on building an inclusive, diverse, progressive environment where all employees can develop and thrive.


Importantly, this week there will be an announcement from Susan requiring all those who work at VICE, both full-time and freelance, to participate in mandatory sexual harassment training. The trainings will be provided by professional third-party firms and will start later this month. Every employee in every office will be trained, but we expect to get through the US, UK, and Canada by the end of February. These trainings are to ensure awareness and understanding of VICE’s commitment to a workplace that promotes equal employment opportunities and is free of discrimination and inappropriate conduct. The note will also be reiterating the numerous ways in which concerns can be reported and how those concerns will be investigated. This applies to all who work at VICE – both full-time and freelance.


I want to warmly welcome Marsha Cooke, who will start later this month in Brooklyn as SVP of Content Strategy. In addition to Marsha’s primary role to oversee the build out of VICE’s content & talent development strategy, she will be leading the effort to drive social consciousness and diversity across our content, and help lead VICE’s Community initiatives, which include but aren’t limited to actions around gender, affinity groups, mentoring, and community partnerships. As I have travelled around over the last couple of months, many of you have voiced your willingness to lead these efforts. In the UK, Canada and other offices, many employee councils have been set up and improvements have already been realized.

We are taking you up on your offers to lead. To start, Charlotte Payne, along with Katherine Chandler and Ellie Lancaster-Smith will be leading the efforts in the UK. In Canada, Lana Van Brunt and Carly Gray have been spearheading Women@VICE and efforts are already under way to start a Diversity & Inclusion employee council.

In the US, I have asked Sarah Harrison, John Kolbeck, Lindsey Favious, Gianna Toboni, Sara Rodriguez, Lauren Dolgen, Catherine Whythe, Josh Cogswell, Ricki Askin, Krystle Watler, Hana Ballout, Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Natalie Farrey, Dory Carr-Harris, Lindsey Schrupp, Lauren Cynamon, Genel Ambrose and Annie Augustine to form an organizing committee to help coordinate the initial meet-ups around the areas of Mentoring, Gender, Affinity groups and community partnerships. These leaders in the US will be reaching out to the many of you who have expressed interest over the next couple weeks to get you involved, seek your input, organize the ideas have accumulated and to create momentum until Marsha starts officially. We will be asking for leaders in the other countries and offices as well. I promise you will hear more shortly. If you are interested in becoming more involved, you can sign up here. I expect these employee-led efforts in all of our offices to provide another influential forum for employees to have a stronger voice in the cultural changes we are making.


You have asked for clarity about its role. Robbie and I will follow up later this week with a separate note on how the D&I board will intersect with the employee led community initiatives above as well as the various forums where employees can interact with the board. It is an important clarification and deserves its own note.


Let’s be frank – we need more women and diversity throughout the organization. This is fundamental to VICEs ability to connect with its audience and is a strategic priority and a competitive advantage we hold – it is not just an internal initiative.

The Company is making visible changes to its leadership and more will be announced over the next couple of months. The make-up of the VICE board has been changed – some long-standing employees have been replaced with new faces and fresh perspectives. We have added and will continue to add women and people of diverse backgrounds to our ranks; across the entire organization including content, marketing and sales. Changing an organization takes time and doesn’t happen over night. VICE has committed to 50/50 male/female at every level across the organization by 2020 and pay parity by the end of 2018. These changes are part of a broader effort to put in place a leadership structure to take VICE forward, and to train a new generation of managers and leaders.


I want to address specifically what VICE is doing in response to the allegations about various individuals named in the NYT story. As I’m sure many of you are aware, only two of the individuals named are still employed at VICE.

The claims regarding Carrot’s current CEO Mike Germano will be investigated by HR with an external investigator, a process that Mike has encouraged, and Mike will be on leave until the investigation is concluded. In the meantime, day-to-day operations of Carrot will still be led by Adam Katzenback, reporting to Ryan Mack. Together, they will be ensuring that the agency services businesses of VICE continue to be best positioned in the market. Expect next steps and further communication from them shortly.

Regarding Andrew Creighton, at the time the situation was reviewed by an independent law firm and the claim was found to lack merit, but the Company agreed to settle the matter in order to avoid the expense and distraction of litigation. As we said last week, there are details in the story that VICE believes were incomplete or misrepresented. As a further step, however, a special committee of VICE’s board is reviewing the facts and will make a recommendation to Sr. Management prior to the January 11th board meeting. In the meantime, Andrew has suggested, and we agree, that he remain out of the office on leave until the recommendation from the committee is made to Sr. management.


After the board meeting on January 11th we will have an update on the additional work we’ve been doing to align our organizational structure under some new leadership and to set us up for 2018 with a mission to become the world’s most important media company where everyone wants to work.

The new year represents a new era for VICE. I know that working together, we can all have a very happy, healthy, and successful 2018. As always, please reach out with any concerns or questions.

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