At least 12 former and current employees at Vice came forward to allege a toxic work environment in which women who accepted the sexual advances of their male superiors got ahead, according to a Daily Beast report.
Phoebe Barghouty started at Vice’s Los Angeles bureau as a young master’s graduate from Stanford in 2015 and left the company as part of a series of layoffs in 2016. She alleged that then-bureau chief Kaj Larsen made her feel uncomfortable by making passes at her, in a Tuesday interview with the Daily Beast.
Barghouty claims that Larsen got very drunk, talked about whether he could land a “black girl” and blacked out in a car ride home. A few weeks later, Larsen suggested that Barghouty meet him at his house and when she showed up, told her to wait in the living room while he showered, she alleged. Larsen also began touching her on the small of her back and her thigh, she told the outlet.
Barghouty alleged that there was a culture in the office that prioritized women who slept with their male bosses. Those who did usually got ahead, while those who did not have intimate relations with their superiors were left behind, she claimed.
Other former and current employees alleged that Vice didn’t seem to care about sexual harassment reports. Barghouty also said that when she brought up her issues to the human resources department, they were dismissed and Jason Mojica, the editor-in-chief at the time, later told her that “you just have to deal” because “we have people going into war zones and the only people willing to do that are sociopaths.”
Vice released a statement to The Daily Beast about the allegations in its report, telling the outlet that it had begun looking into the situation.
“However, it does not in any way sanction conduct that is disrespectful or biased, and we will investigate all allegations of such behavior, including any incidents where employees purportedly attempted to justify their conduct through the agreement. We have immediately begun reviewing this matter,” the outlet said.
The allegations against Vice come as other media heads are also facing sexual harassment allegations. A recent report came out alleging Arianna Huffington knew about sexual harassment allegations at her company in advance.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Vice for further comment, but received none in time for publication.
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