Vice is facing further allegations of workplace misconduct and harassment after British producer and presenter Billie JD Porter made a number of claims against the youth media company.
Porter, who has worked on and off with the company for around ten years, made a number of allegations against Vice, dating back a decade, in a post shared on Instagram and Twitter. She was responding to Vice’s coverage of the Women’s March in Los Angeles and New York over the weekend, prompted by a promotional pin that stated ‘Women Don’t Forget’.
“Yeah, women don’t forget. I haven’t forgotten being given drugs and alcohol by my boss in the office as a sixteen year-old, then being asked to perform sex acts on him. I haven’t forgotten being seriously told by my producers to get drunk before filming because they thought it made me a ‘funnier’ host. I haven’t forgotten the company firing me after what they called ‘inappropriate behavior’ at a company party where I was given a cocktail of drugs by senior management, who knew I was being treated for depression,” she wrote.
Porter, who directed and presented a number of documentary including Rose Boy, said that she had made the company aware of these incidents but that she had been “made to feel totally insignificant and humiliated by the supposed ‘investigation’ process.”
A Vice spokesman told Deadline: “Ms. Porter has raised some of the allegations in her Instagram post with us and we have worked quickly and decisively to investigate them and take appropriate actions where necessary. We have encouraged her to give further details surrounding any allegations, so we can investigate those as well. We encourage any current or former employee who believes they are the victim of a crime to file a police report. We will co-operate with any law enforcement enquiries that follow.”
This comes after Vice formed a female-led advisory board that includes Gloria Steinem, former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen and former Obama aide Alyssa Mastromonaco and hired Susan Tohyama as its new Global Head of HR in November. Elsewhere, the firm also brought in mandatory sexual harassment training and tightened its reporting processes for inappropriate behaviour. It also introduced a number of female-led employee councils on diversity and inclusion across the U.S., UK and Canada.
Porter added that she was “conflicted” about how much she should say on social media “partially for legal reasons”. It was announced in June 2017 that she would present Generation Rent, an eight-part documentary series for Viceland U.S. and UK, although it’s not clear if that project will still air.
In January, Vice Media placed a number of staff, including president Andrew Creighton and chief digital officer Mike Germano, on leave after numerous sexual harassment allegations against them were reported by the New York Times.
“We want Vice to be a working environment in which all colleagues feel valued and respected and have put in place clear procedures for colleagues to raise grievances, and a rigorous and transparent process for handling them,” the Vice spokesman added.