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Three Vice employees fired amid probe into sexual harassment

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Vice Media said Thursday that it fired three employees amid an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace.

Vice did not name the employees but said their conduct “ranged from verbal and sexual harassment to other behavior that is inconsistent with our policies, our values, and the way in which we believe colleagues should work together.”

Susan Tohyama, Vice’s recently established global director of human resources, said in a memo to employees first reported by reported by CNN that her office was investigating “a handful of workplace complaints.”

“I know a few people have asked for specifics concerning both the complaints and the discipline we have taken,” Tohyama said. “I believe the confidentiality of the process is necessary to protect all those who wish to bring allegations to me and to create a fair, safe and inclusive environment for all employees.”

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Tensions are reportedly running high at the media organization, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., after it held its “state of the union” earlier this month that included a video package featuring co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi that failed to address concerns about sexual harassment.

“Even for Vice,” one Vice editor told CNN last week, “the whole thing was astoundingly tone-deaf.”

Smith addressed those concerns in a separate email to staffers earlier this month that referenced a story by The Daily Beast. CNN noted that that story resulted in the suspension of another employee, lead filmmaker Jason Mojica.

“While we attempted to cover a wide range of issues impacting the company, I’m sorry that we missed the mark, especially when it came to clearly addressing issues around sexual harassment at VICE,” Smith wrote.

“I’d like to make it abundantly clear here and now: The behavior outlined in the recent Daily Beast article is unacceptable, and the fact that anything like this could happen at VICE is my and my senior management’s responsibility,” he wrote.

The news Thursday comes amid an increasing focus on sexual harassment in media following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against high-profile figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer.

Tags CNN Daily Beast New York Times Sexual assault Sexual harassment Shane Smith Vice

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