A Statement from Waypoint


#1

Over the last day and a half, we’ve received a lot of questions from you, our readers and fans, about this story published by the Daily Beast yesterday morning. While we stand in solidarity with the VICE Union’s statement against sexual harassment, we also felt it was important to address this story—and the issue of sexual misconduct—in our own words and on our own platform.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/43nm3n/a-statement-from-waypoint

‘Unsafe and Just Plain Dirty’: Women Accuse Vice of ‘Toxic’ Sexual-Harassment Culture
#2

Hey everyone,
We weren’t thrilled about how this was discussed previously on the forums, so we want to be absolutely clear that we’re keeping a close eye on possible rule 10 violations. Feel free to discuss the statement, but this is not a place for discussion of who believes and says what at Waypoint regarding harassment.


The following edit is per request by Danika to post the aforementioned statement in full here for user readability.


Over the last day and a half, we’ve received a lot of questions from you, our readers and fans, about this story published by the Daily Beast yesterday morning. While we stand in solidarity with the VICE Union’s statement against sexual harassment, we also felt it was important to address this story—and the issue of sexual misconduct—in our own words and on our own platform.

When we came here, each of us had our own reservations about VICE. We have all, publicly or privately, spoken about our desire to be a force of positive change at VICE, a company which we believe has both a torrid history and a great deal of journalistic excellence. In light of the Daily Beast’s story, we have realized how important it is that we not only push for change in private, internal meetings, but that we also must use our platform to publicly hold accountable our own workplace.

It is tempting, yet facile to frame incidents like the one in the Daily Beast article as being the result of a few bad apples. Sexual misconduct is perpetrated by individuals, but it is enabled and emboldened through structural, institutional, and societal factors. These need to be addressed, and so, speaking as an unified editorial staff, Waypoint has communicated to VICE Senior Management the following expectations, which represent the bare minimum of what we feel is necessary to ensure the safety of its workers.

  1. How any organization responds to sexual misconduct allegations is important. But reacting is never enough. VICE needs to place new, stronger preventative measures in place. These should including better education about acceptable workplace behavior, more clarity on what resources are available to those who experience or witness misconduct, and a commitment to regular, ongoing evaluation of workplace safety and professionalism.

    If these require new staffing, a reworking of senior management, or additional resources being made available to the staff already here, these must be prioritized.

  2. While we have had a strong working relationship with the editorial leadership at VICE’s New York headquarters, and while our personal experiences have been safe and positive, VICE is a global media company, with dozens of offices across the world.

    Protections must be put in place not just here in New York, but also in our global satellite offices. Additionally, the safety of employees must be made paramount when considering future expansion into new markets. We love our office and feel safe here, and we need assurance that security will extend to everyone who works under VICE’s banner.

  3. As a media company, VICE often reports on uncomfortable, difficult matters, and it is important that a policy is in place to inform its workers that they may encounter potentially upsetting material. However, as written currently, the non-traditional workplace agreement is vague at best and odious at worst.

    The purpose of such an agreement should be to allow reporters the freedom to investigate complex, often unpleasant topics, but lines like “I agree to hold VICE harmless from any and all claims I may have based upon VICE’s workplace environment…” are irresponsible and provide cover for bad actors. This not only puts people in direct danger, but also actively discourages those who would report misconduct from doing so.

    This agreement must be re-evaluated and revised. Full stop.

  4. When Gawker closed in 2016, it brought to light a punitive legal strategy that risks to derail vital journalism. We are grateful that this has not stopped incredible reporting about powerful figures, work that has inspired us, and stories that bring to light the machinations of the powerful.

    In 2017 these stories all come at increased legal risk, and in light of the the allegations published by The Daily Beast, any attempt to speak truth to power will now come with questions about VICE’s credibility. In the face of these challenges, we seek a re-commitment from senior management of the importance of reporting on difficult topics, including stories about sexual misconduct, and a commitment of meaningful material resources to pursue those stories.

It is not enough to simply make demands of others, though. We must hold ourselves accountable according to the same ethos that guided us in championing the above issues. We must continue to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct and targets of all kinds of abuse. As long as there is a Waypoint, we will continue to investigate difficult subject matter with integrity, offer transparency into the decision making that guides our publication.

We’ve spoken to leadership at editorial channels across VICE, and they have voiced their support and commitment to equitability and safety in the workplace (and many have been working internally for a long time on improving these very conditions). Additional communication from those channels will be coming soon, but given our unique relationship with you, our readers and fans, we wanted to speak out as soon as possible.

To those of you who have been asking us to respond to this matter over the last two days, thank you for your patience and for holding us to our own standards. We will continue to strive to be a beacon of hope, positivity, and criticality in the world of games and beyond.

The undersigned,

Danika Harrod Patrick Klepek Danielle Riendeau Austin Walker Natalie Watson Rob Zacny


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/43nm3n/a-statement-from-waypoint


#3

Amazing statement, guys. Y’all have created a truly fantastic, caring space here, and I’m glad you’re taking that philosophy of compassion and empathy and using it to hold VICE accountable to the safety of their employees.


#4

I just want to thank all six of you for making this statement. My question to folks at any company where a story like this happens isn’t “was ____ fired yet” but rather “what are you going to do to fix this going forward?” I think this is the first time I’ve ever actually seen an answer to that and I appreciate that you’re using your position to effect change instead of staying silent or circling the wagons. All of you are awesome, thank you.


#5

Waypoint is good people. Nothing to add, really.


#6

Thank you for writing this statement. Also, sorry for any speculation I and others were doing, that wasn’t right.


#7

I said on the previous thread that I thought they’d handle it OK, but I wasn’t expecting that. I’m sure that must have been the result of a lot of hard work, but it’s extremely impressive.

Well done Waypoint.


#8

Seems like a pretty sincere statement. It’s good to see.


#9

This has been a year full of statements like this being put out there, but I don’t think I’ve seen one as carefully worded and as thoughtful.


#10

It’s an excellent statement and the right place to start. We’ll have to wait and see what material changes come of this. I understand those take time, but I hope those changes actually come and vice doesn’t just make promises to their workers and wait six months for the outrage to wane.


#11

I really hope this statement is taken seriously. Really great work.


#12

A strong statement with actionable demands. I really appreciate this, Waypoint. Also, I love the fact that you guys signed in alphabetical order.


#13

I am very happy to see this. Thanks for continuing to be a great example.


#14

Just wanted to re-iterate everything we say in this statement and thank y’all for your patience on this. It means a lot.


#15

Being considerate, compassionate, accountable, honest, as objective as possible and proceeding with conviction. Nothing in the list above seems easy in 2017 and wow does it suck that this is the case.

As an audience member who respects a lot of what you do and are trying to do as a division within a greater corporate whole, I want to say thank you for your consistent hard work and for not just doing what is easy. @Danika @austin_walker @Dapp thank you for what you do, it means a lot to the people who look up to you.


#16

This is good and y’all are good.


#17

Because I know a lot of the site/community is very US-focused so this may not be circulating widely over there (and the statement above notes the global nature of Vice), there are currently serious concerns over how some regional executives and management are dealing with this (undercutting the PR offensive that Vice are on).

Thread [TW: discussion of suicide, harassment]:

And the corresponding note that in the UK, it’s certainly not obvious that Vice can provide a safe environment:

As always, solidarity with everyone still dealing with what’s happened/is happening at various Vice locations and those who are no longer there. Hopefully there will be real change and the removal of toxic management/leadership where it currently exists.