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Report: Shane Smith to Step Down as Vice Media CEO

Shane Smith, the former CEO of Vice Media
Getty/Jemal Countess

A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc is set to become the next CEO of Vice Media, taking over from Vice Media co-Founder Shane Smith, following multiple sexual harassment allegations at the company.

Smith’s replacement was first hinted at in a Variety report, which claimed Dubuc was in talks to become CEO of Vice Media, and it was later confirmed by the Daily Beast, who obtained an in-company memo.

“Dubuc would take the reins of Vice Media at a time of both turmoil and growth for the high-flying digital media venture that has attracted investments from Disney, Fox, and private equity giant TPG,” reported Variety. “A+E Networks is a partner with Vice in the Viceland cable channel, which has struggled to draw large audiences since its March 2016 debut.”

In the leaked memo, Smith confirmed that he would be stepping down.

“While we tried our damnedest to have everything signed, sealed and delivered before sharing it with you and with the rest of the world, we seemingly can’t take a crap in this town without it leaking to the press,” he declared. “Today we put this speculation to rest and turn our focus toward executing our growth plans to maintain our hegemonic place atop the new media landscape which, in turn, will give us the ability to control our own destiny.”

According to the Daily Beast, Smith “will continue to create content with Vice and will serve as executive chairman of the board.”

In a statement, Dubuc announced her resignation from A+E Networks to take on her “next challenge” at Vice Media.

“For nearly 20 years, I have called A+E Networks home and the team has been an extended part of my family,” Dubuc expressed. “After 20 years at A+E the hardest thing will be to leave the people and company I love. But, as a creative executive and leader, and to stay true to my personal mantra, I need my next dare and my next challenge.”

As reported by Breitbart Tech Senior Reporter Allum Bokhari in 2016, though Vice Media has received hundreds of millions of dollars in investment from companies as big as Disney, their website traffic, as well as the ratings of its cable television network Viceland, have been in constant decline.

“The company has attracted eye-watering sums of investment, recently closing a $200 million deal with Disney. Last year, its valuation rose to $4.5 billion, and it projected revenues of $1 billion. Yet this year it appears to be on course for disaster: its head of ad sales recently resigned after the site suffered a shocking 17.4 percent crash in traffic,” reported Bokhari. “Vice’s vaunted efforts to move into TV have also proven a monumental disappointment. Vicelandits cable TV network, bombed on launch. Despite efforts by the company to suppress ratings data, the International Business Times discovered that its ratings were 77 percent lower than the channel it replaced. In raw numbers, Viceland received an average of just 60,400 viewers per day in its first week — fewer than many amateur YouTube channels.”

More recently, Vice Media has also been at the center of many sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse scandals.

Vice Media suspended its president Andrew Creighton, chief digital officer Mike Germano, and head of documentaries Jason Mojica following sexual harassment allegations, while three other employees were fired over sexual misconduct.

Multiple women also alleged abuse by a Vice News contributor who specialized in “male feminist” content for the website, and a New York Times investigative report revealed even more examples.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.

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