Nationally syndicated radio host Glenn Beck announced Thursday afternoon that his media company The Blaze had laid off over one fifth of its workforce.
“What happened? My heart is heavy today,” begins a post from Beck on his news website.
“We are losing a lot of talented and committed colleagues, who are some of the best human beings I know,” Beck writes “Some have been friends of mine for 30 years.”
The employees who were let go include faces of the business like radio host Mike Opelka and staff writer Brandon Morse, who starred in online videos discussing cultural issues.
Beck put a bold face forward, saying that this setback will lead to a strategy of “disruption” — which he won an award for in 2013 — that will change the media landscape forever:
In 2013, I was given the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award by the Tribeca Film Festival. Today, just four years later, I don’t believe I would finish in the top 100. To change that, we needed to become more nimble and drastically adjust our approach to keep pace with the massive changes unfolding before us.
Over the past two years, I have had an ongoing conversation about disruption with Jonathan Schreiber, the president of my company (Mercury Radio Arts). The challenges we’re facing don’t just affect Conservative Media (though read his thoughts on them here) and they will extend even further than media in general and they will impact every household in America.
The Blaze has been experiencing cash flow woes for more than a year, laying off 40 employees last April. At the time, Beck similarly referenced his “disrupter” glory days and said he did not deserve the award since winning it:
When I first put TheBlaze on the air, it was GBTV. And I won a hammer. It’s the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award. It’s a disrupter’s award. It goes to some of the best disrupters in the world. I couldn’t believe I was in the room when I won this award. That year, I earned that award because we broke television and we’re the first one to make it an app and put it online.
I haven’t earned this hammer a day since.
In August of 2016, Beck sued the company’s former CEO Christopher Balfe over $13 million in compensation over six years, alleging contract breach and fraud, among other claims. Balfe counter-sued, writing in his complaint that Beck had become paranoid, “erratic,” and “[referred] to himself as Walt Disney.”
The next month, Mercury Radio Arts shuttered its “once-cherished subsidiary” for scripted film and TV production, American Dream Labs.
In October, during peak election coverage season, a report claimed The Blaze had reduced its news website’s editorial staffed from 25 to six employees.
Beck’s bad fortune appeared to stem from an ideological rift with much of his conservative audience. Beck endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the Republican presidential primary, campaigning for the senator and dubbing him “the next George Washington.”
However, once Donald Trump won the primary, Beck refused to endorse the GOP nominee and became a leading voice of the “Never Trump” movement. He lashed out at perceived pro-Trump forces such as Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, Matt Drudge, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, and Republican voters.
Beck also baffled fans and foes alike when he lavished praise on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — a rising star among globalist, pro-censorship elites — after several reports claimed the social networking site had censored conservative news websites from its Trending News widget. Beck and other conservative media figures visited Facebook HQ to discuss the issue, and the radio host said afterward he found no fundamental ideological differences with the tech giant’s employees. Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused Beck of “sucking up” to Zuckerberg during the guided tour.
Beck ends his latest layoff announcement promising brighter days ahead for his remaining employees. “My purpose is clearer today than it has been in years,” he writes: “Love, Courage, Truth.
“As difficult as the changes we made today have been, this was an important first step in getting to where we are going.”