Complex has issued a public statement in response to a flurry of tweets from former female employees who described the working environment as toxic all women but especially black women.
Making use of its Complex Networks Twitter account with 96 followers, the company wrote in part, “It’s not enough to support Black and PO voices in our content, we must ensure that internally they, and all minority groups, are always supported. We have already taken immediate action to address recent claims as the first of many steps. We care about the culture of our company and creating a safe and positive environment for all.”
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Now it’s Complex‘s turn in the barrel. The Hearst and Verizon-owned publication came under fire on Friday (June 19, 2020) when former employee, Tiffany Wines, posted an open letter in response to the media company’s statement of solidarity with demonstrations protesting the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.
“If it wasn’t a slap in the face, I would have laughed out loud when I read it,” she said. “Ardent devotees of the brand may be placated by a single post, but I urge you not to be fooled by the posturing on social media until true change is enacted from within.
She then described Complex as “steeped in misogyny, anti-Blackness, rape culture and pay inequity across demographics lines that has thrived for far too long.”
Wines left the company in February 2020 and as part of her separation agreement signed a non-disclosure agreement. She noted, “I am breaking my NDA here with intention. Although I am speaking for myself in this letter, trust me when I say I am not alone.”
After Wines posted her letter, multiple former employees, all women, provided their own accounts of difficult working conditions.
In an internal memo, the company acknowledged the Wines email and said it was conducting a second internal review. The memo read in part, “I want to let you know firsthand that we’re 100% committed to creating a workplace free from unsafe conditions and harassment of any kind.”
In regards to Wine’s claims, the memo added, “We’d conducted an investigation as soon it was initially raised and while we disagree with some of the assertions that were made based on the findings and the policies we have in place, we will be conducting a second investigation into those claims, working with a third party resource.”
I quit there 4 years ago. That place was a disaster, any black person whos there is a Get Out extra. HR complicit since day 1. R*ch is toxic and let abusive toxic people, sexual harassers, and racists thrive. Board knows and babysits him now. LOVE to see it sis!🔥— Jackie Lacey’s Ashy Elbows (@zar_inah) June 21, 2020
Some things I witnessed at @Complex:— carolyn bernucca (@bernucca) June 21, 2020
– Former GM of Complex making light of 21 Savage’s ICE detainment
– Former Executive Editor telling a woman she was “in the wrong office” if she didn’t like Nas (a known abuser)
– Edit meetings where I was the only non-cis straight man
Complex was my first job out of college and the most toxic place I have ever worked. The boys club culture was dangerous and allowed a lot of behavior to be swept under the rug. Tiffany’s, mine and so many other women’s stories are not uncommon. Support women. Believe women. https://t.co/9ff2dF1p0R— gabriella (@gabrielllalewis) June 20, 2020
What toxic Complex story should I share? Rape joke in the bullpen I couldn’t report, 20K less I made than the men in the same position as me, probation period I was put on “for not smiling enough” after being told if everyone worked as hard as I did it would be a better place. https://t.co/7WkeNY0Qae— Kerensa Cadenas (@kerensacadenas) June 20, 2020