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Vice Media has fired its chief digital officer, Mike Germano, after at least two women accused him of sexual misconduct, TheWrap has learned
The news was broken on Tuesday at an all-hands meeting of Carrot Creative, Vice’s in-house digital agency that Germano founded in 2004 and which was acquired by Vice in 2013. The news was revealed to Carrot employees by Ryan Mack, Chief Operating Officer of Virtue, a Vice-owned creative agency of which Carrot is a part.
A spokesperson for Vice Media did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Germano had previously been suspended following a New York Times report in which two women accused of inappropriate behavior.
One woman, Amanda Rue, told the Times that Germano said during a 2012 holiday party that he wouldn’t hire her because he wanted to have sex with her. A second woman, Gabrielle Schaefer, told the paper that Germano made her feel uncomfortable when he pulled her onto his lap during a 2014 work event at a bar.
Germano founded and served as CEO of Carrot Creative. He told The Times: “Carrot has been repeatedly recognized as one of the industry’s best places to work, and I do not believe that these allegations reflect the company’s culture — or the way we treat each other. With regards to the incident with Ms. Schaefer, I agreed at that time it was inappropriate, I apologized, and it was resolved with the help of HR.”
Germano, along with Vice Media president Andrew Creighton, were suspended from Vice on Jan. 2, soon after the Times story. The Times reported that Creighton paid $135,000 to a former employee who said she was fired after she rejected an intimate relationship with him. His fate with the company remains unknown.
Vice co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi apologized on behalf of the company in a public note to employees.
“We understand that this had an impact on current and former employees at Vice, and we want to express our deepest apologies to them, as well as our extreme regret for our role in perpetuating sexism in the media industry and society in general,” the wrote.
Vice also announced the creation of female-led advisory committee, which would include feminist icon Gloria Steinem.