News & Opinion | January 19, 2018 9:06 am

Vice Survived Its #MeToo Scandal But Now Comes the Hard Part

Can the media company justify its $5.7 billion valuation?

vice
(L-R) VICE founder Suroosh Alvi, executive producers Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti. (Gary Gershoff/WireImage)

By late October of last year, the #MeToo movement had reached journalism. Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Mario Batali had all lost their jobs due to sexual misconduct in the workplace. Word on the street was that The New York Times had a story at Vice, and HBO, who had partnered with Vice on a pair of new shows, was worried. Vice is valued at $5.7 billion, and rumors about the impending impact grew and grew. The journalism world was waiting to see if the story would bring down the massive media company. But even before the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the beginning of the #MeToo movement, Vice knew that it had a culture problem. The company began to move past the raunchy, shock-value reputation that had long defined their brand and moved more towards documentary-style reporting. It began an initiative to reach gender pay parity in 2018. Three producers were fired amid an investigation into inappropriate workplace conduct. So when the 4,000-word Times exposé broke, Vice was “already in rehab,” writes Vanity Fair. Times reporter Emily Steel conducted more than 100 interviews with current and former Vice employees and unearthed settlements spanning 15 years. It was damaging. But Vice survived, but clients are keeping a close eye on how their cleanups efforts shake out. But a few questions remain, including, is it really worth $5.7 billion?