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Media Meltdowns

Jonah Peretti Lays Off 47 HuffPost Staffers In Latest “Bloodbath”

Jonah Peretti, CEO, Buzzfeed speaks at NewsCred's Content Marketing Summit at Metropolitan Pavilion on September 18, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for NewsCred

BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti, who acquired HuffPost from Verizon in a deal that was announced last year with the promise that HuffPost would thrive in partnership with BuzzFeed, announced in an all-hands meeting today that 47 U.S. HuffPost staffers, including eight managers, would be losing their jobs in order to “drive longterm sustainability.” Thirty-three of those employees were members of HuffPost’s union. Peretti also said various international HuffPost offices would be “winding down.”

According to a recording of the all-hands call obtained by Defector, Peretti told staffers that if they “don’t receive an email” by 1:00 p.m. EDT then their jobs are safe. The HuffPost staff received an email at 10:00 a.m. EDT announcing the meeting. According to an attendee, the password to join the meeting was “spr!ngisH3r3.”

“This is a bloodbath,” a HuffPost staffer and union member told Defector. “It’s worse than the worst-case scenario for what any of us thought we would see when we got this announcement a couple hours ago. And the fucked-up way that they announced this notwithstanding, this is a just bloodbath for an award-winning international newsroom full of absolutely stellar journalists who didn’t deserve this.”

“The initial reaction is I can’t believe what little chance we were given to show what we can do to help this company,” the staffer said.

Peretti, who laid off nearly 70 percent of BuzzFeed’s furloughed staff last summer in order to keep losses under $20 million, said during today’s meeting that the company’s losses exceeded $20 million.

“The loss of last year exceeded $20 million and would be similar this year without intervention,” Peretti said. “And BuzzFeed is a profitable company, but we’re not that profitable, and we don’t have the resources to support another two years of losses.”

HuffPost executive editor Hillary Frey and international exec editor Louise Roug will be leaving the company, Peretti said. He added that current HuffPost Enterprise Director Richard Kim would be taking over interim leadership of HuffPost as the search for a new editor-in-chief continues.

Peretti told the New York Times last year that the HuffPost-BuzzFeed merger would be good for both companies:

“We want HuffPost to be more HuffPosty, and BuzzFeed to be more BuzzFeedy — there’s not much audience overlap,” he said. “These are different audiences they serve. On the editorial side and the consumer side, we want to have a lot of independence and autonomy for HuffPost and for it to determine its own brand.”

New York Times

Staffers have begun to announce their layoffs:

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.