EXCLUSIVE: Vice Media’s Andy Capper, one of the longest serving producers at the youth-focused brand, has left the company. The reasons for Capper’s departure from the company are not immediately clear.
Capper has been at Vice Media since 2001; he co-founded the company’s UK division, one of its key international outposts, along with Andrew Creighton and was involved in the business’ early move into video, working on its first DVD series, funded by MTV, as well as its Heavy Metal In Baghdad project and The Vice Guide To Liberia, which featured warlords and cannibals.
More recently, he has worked on some of Vice’s most high-profile documentaries including Reincarnated, which followed rapper Snoop Dogg as he transformed into Rastafarian reggae artist Snoop Lion and Swansea Love Story, which was part of its Rule Britannia strand.
He has also worked on a number of segments for Vice’s eponymous HBO news show and produced the Noisey documentary series and The Therapist for its linear Viceland channel and the original pot doc web series Weediquette, which was later turned into a long-form series. He originally worked in London before relocating to New York and is believed to have recently been working in LA.
Vice, which is part owned by 21st Century Fox, Disney and A+E Networks and earlier this year snagged a $450 million investment from private equity firm TPG, has had a tricky couple of months. Last month, the edgy youth brand fired three employees for behavior ranging from “verbal and sexual harassment to other behavior that is inconsistent with our policies, our values, and the way in which we believe colleagues should work together”. It’s understood that one of these execs was Jason Mojica, the head of Vice’s documentary films unit.
In November, the company hired a new global head of HR, Susan Tohyama, who previously looked after human resources at the NBA, tightened its standards and practices, updates its reporting processes for inappropriate behaviour, implemented sensitivity training in the workplace and formed a female-led advisory board that includes Gloria Steinem, former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen and Alyssa Mastromonaco, the former Obama aide who is now president of global communications, strategy and talent at Vice backer A+E Networks.
Following these initial allegations, it said in a statement, “Vice was founded 23 years ago as a punk magazine exploring the subversive culture that the founders, the magazine’s contributors and readers were part of. Since then, we have grown into a media company that operates in dozens of countries and is home to thousands of the industry’s most talented journalists, producers and content creators. However, as our company has evolved, our workplace culture has fallen short. We acknowledge this, which is why we have committed ourselves to making the changes necessary to create an inclusive workplace where all our employees can flourish, while being safe and respected. Our focus right now is listening to our employees and addressing their needs. These changes do not happen overnight, and we have undertaken a number of steps over the past year.”