Just two weeks after Vice Media laid off 17 writers and editors — including two women on maternity leave — Vice magazine released their September issue, ironically themed around the topic of “indulgence.” Per the Editor’s Note:
In this issue, we aimed to think critically about those aspects of life that are so frequently treated as excessive, debauched, or extravagant—sex, travel, food, wealth—after a stretch defined by austerity.
The issue, which touches on Chippendale’s dancers, celebrity sequins, and rogue Burning Man, hit the stands as the financially beleaguered company indulges in their true vice: austerity (this time, by skimping on severance packages for their recently laid-off staff). Monday morning, just after the magazine went live, the Vice Union released a statement calling on management to match the packages they’d extended to colleagues laid off last year:
“The increasing callousness with which this company executes layoffs undermines the values management professes to hold,” the union wrote.
The layoffs had been announced as an afterthought in a corporate email championing the company’s pivot to “visual storytelling” and “continued global alignment” — language so empty it inadvertently illustrated the grim future of a media company without writers and editors. They were followed by the news that Vice had brought in over $85 million in investor capital, after ditching plans to go public by way of a SPAC. Anyway, maybe Vice executives should heed the words of their own employees and indulge in some severance for those they cut off just before federal unemployment benefits expired.