Emmerich, who joined Refinery29 in 2015 before it was acquired last year by Vice, is leaving the company less than a month after R29 editor-in-chief and co-founder Christene Barberich stepped down as EIC following criticism over the staff’s lack of racial diversity and allegations of racial discrimination. Emmerich’s resignation was first reported by CNN, which had previously reported that Vice Media had enlisted an outside law firm to investigate Refinery29’s “toxic” workplace.
The union representing Refinery29 editorial employees had called for Emmerich’s ouster in a June 11 letter to Vice Media Group management. “We’re looking forward to working with new leadership who’s experienced in overseeing a diverse @refinery29 newsroom committed to serving a diverse audience,” R29 Union tweeted.
Vice Media Group CEO Nancy Dubuc announced Emmerich’s exit in a memo to staff Thursday, without addressing the reason she was leaving. Emmerich did not respond to a request for comment.
“Since joining Refinery29 more than five years ago, Amy has been passionately committed to building the brand and helping to shape its vision,” Dubuc wrote. “That passion was a driving force behind where this brand is today and the successful integration of Refinery29 into our company.”
Emmerich sent her own email to staff announcing her resignation. “I’ve always fought for space so this amazing team can create unencumbered. I make this decision now so you can continue to do that,” she wrote. “Now is a time for change, reflection and growth both for me personally and for us all as we move forward.”
In her memo, Dubuc wrote that she will be “communicating interim reporting lines for Amy’s direct reports on Tuesday after the holiday.”
At Refinery29, Emmerich had overseen content development and production spanning short films showcased at the Sundance Film Festival to traditional TV series and feature films with various partners.
Emmerich joined Refinery29 as head of video and in less than a year was promoted to chief content officer. She expanded her role in April 2019 with the additional title of president, North America. Following Vice’s acquisition of the company, Dubuc further broadened Emmerich’s duties to have global oversight and to head Refinery29’s 29Rooms experiential business.
Before joining Refinery29, Emmerich was SVP of programming for Scripps Network Interactive’s ulive.com digital lifestyle network. From January-December 2012, she worked at Vice Media as VP of production and development based in Brooklyn. She had joined Vice from a similar role at Scripps’ Travel Channel, where she developed the docuseries “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.” Earlier in her career, Emmerich worked at MTV and Oxygen Media.
“You have to be comfortable with change,” Emmerich said in an episode of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast last year. “You have to think about your strategies and review them quarterly. Unlike when I was in television when it was a yearly experience.”