Layoffs have begun at Valence Media, the conglomerate that owns editorial operations like The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, and content shops like Dick Clark Productions and Media Rights Capital.
Senior writers and editors at Billboard and Vibe magazines were pink slipped early Tuesday, employees tweeted. Cuts at THR are also expected to begin on Tuesday, insiders told Variety. These layoffs are believed to include editorial employees, as well as staffers in other departments.
At least eight people were dismissed from Dick Clark Productions, said one source of the producer of the annual Golden Globe awards, and roughly three staffers from “Ozark” and “Knives Out” producer MRC. A Valence Media spokesperson had no immediate comment on the matter. The layoffs are expected to continue throughout the day.
The staff reduction was attributed to COVID-19, said Vibe deputy editor William Ketchum III, in a tweet.
“Today was my last day as deputy editor at @VibeMagazine. My position was eliminated as a result of various layoffs across the parent company in response to the coronavirus. Grateful to have nearly two years with one of the most iconic brands in music/cultural journalism,” he wrote.
Despite the chaos inflected by the pandemic, The Hollywood Reporter was losing roughly $10 million annually and its owners were pushing to rein in costs. The publication was hit hard last week when Matthew Belloni, its editorial director, stepped down after conflicts with Valence and MRC executives who pressured him to tone down the publication’s coverage of movies and celebrities with whom it did business.
Today was my last day as deputy editor at @VibeMagazine. My position was eliminated as a result of various layoffs across the parent company in response to the coronavirus. Grateful to have nearly two years with one of the most iconic brands in music/cultural journalism. pic.twitter.com/sCvpzfKdlh
— William Ketchum III (@WEKetchum) April 14, 2020
Today myself & many colleagues at Billboard, Vibe & THR were laid off. I'm very proud of what we did in my 7 years at Billboard & ready to keep writing, editing, podcasting, creating. Hit me up for all things freelance (music, culture, sports, etc). Email & website are in bio :)
— Chris Payne (@cpayneonaplane) April 14, 2020
i was laid off from billboard on this fine spring morning. would love to blog for you, edit for you, or produce your podcast. clips and email are in bio
— Will Gottsegen (@lil_smush) April 14, 2020