BuzzFeed on Tuesday announced that it is downsizing its HuffPost staff in an attempt to break even and turn profits. Just three weeks after the acquisition of HuffPost, BuzzFeed has announced layoffs affecting a total of 70 employees. Hillary Frey, the site's executive editor, and Louise Roug, the executive editor for international, have also been let go in the company's restructuring effort.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti announced that the layoffs would affect 47 of HuffPost newsroom employees, including eight in the management. In addition, HuffPost Canada would be shut down, which would mean laying off 23 employees there, bringing the total to 70.
"Though BuzzFeed is a profitable company, we don't have the resources to support another two years of losses. The most responsible thing we can do is to manage our costs and ensure BuzzFeed — and HuffPost — are set up to prosper long-term. That's why we've made the difficult decision to restructure HuffPost to reach profitability more quickly. Our goal is for HuffPost to break even this year," Peretti said in a statement.
The decision was met with strong criticism as HuffPost Union condemned the restructuring.
Today, we learned that 33 of our colleagues — nearly 30% of our unit — will be laid off. We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home. This is also happening less than a month after HuffPost was acquired by BuzzFeed. We never got a fair shot to prove our worth. These layoffs reiterate the importance of forming a union and advocating for our colleagues. We are glad that we are protected by a collective bargaining agreement and that our colleagues will receive severance. Our union will continue fighting to make HuffPost a more just and equitable workplace, including pushing for clear and accountable commitments to hiring and promoting more people of color and for transparency around pay equity.
"Spring is here"
As discussions about BuzzFeed's decision to layoff dozens of HuffPost employees has come to the fray, a shocking revelation was made by politics writer Laura Bassett. She said the employees were informed about the layoff after they were invited to a virtual meeting with the password "spring is here."
"HuffPost employees, after a year of working through a pandemic that isn't over, were invited to a meeting today with the password "spring is here," where they were told 47 of them would be laid off. They would only know if they still had a job if they didn't receive an email by 1," Bassett tweeted.
"The layoffs did not sit well with a lot of people, who called out BuzzFeed for their decision. Today I got laid off at HuffPost, after a decade of work I am so incredibly proud of. I am one of 47 of my deeply, beautifully, funny and talented and wonderful and kind colleagues who lost their jobs today. I'm the most sad that we can't all hug each other. (Also... hire me?)," a senior HuffPost reporter Emma Gray wrote on Twitter.
Many reporters who were laid off as a part of BuzzFeed's restructuring efforts have expressed their sorrow. A lot of them are getting support from netizens, who are giving shoutout to them so they get hired soon.
A thread of incomparable reporters laid off from HuffPost today who you, an esteemed media organization, should scoop up immediately:— Jenna Amatulli (@ohheyjenna) March 9, 2021