Mike Germano, the founder and CEO of Vice-owned digital agency Carrot Creative and chief digital officer of its parent media company, was suspended today pending the results of an internal investigation into harassment claims against him.
The announcement comes via an internal memo from Vice COO/CFO Sarah Broderick. Variety broke news of the memo today before Bloomberg followed up with its own report. Germano was not the only executive affected; Vice president Andrew Creighton was also suspended.
These moves follow the December 23 publication of a long-rumored New York Times expose on Vice’s history as a “toxic environment” for women. That story included two specific incidents regarding encounters between Germano and women who worked with him, both of whom spoke to NYT on the record. In a statement, the executive acknowledged that his behavior toward one of these women had been “inappropriate.”
Vice itself adopted a very apologetic tone, with co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi expressing “extreme regret for our role in perpetuating sexism in the media industry and society in general.”
Today’s memo states that Germano has “encouraged” the current investigation, which will be led by Vice’s HR team and an unnamed “external investigator.” In the meantime, Carrot Creative president Adam Katzenback will take his place and report to Vice creative agency Virtue COO Ryan Mack.