Fusion Media Group Editorial Staffers on Edge After Univision Layoffs

Fusion Media Group Brands -Screen shot-H 2018
Courtesy of Fusion Media Group

Writers and editors for sites like Gizmodo and Splinter are worried they'll be cut next: "That's what we're all waiting to find out about."

About a month after parent company Univision scrapped plans for an initial public offering, editorial employees of the publications that make up the Fusion Media Group — including the former Gawker Media sites — are worried they're on the chopping block.

On Thursday, Univision laid off more than 150 employees, an individual with knowledge of the situation confirmed. Those cuts are on top of the 20 employees who were laid off early last month.

So far, Fusion Media Group editorial employees have been spared from the cutting, but they're concerned they're next. "That's what we’re all waiting to find out about," one employee told The Hollywood Reporter.

An individual familiar with the company's operations says the editorial cuts are almost a certainty. "They'll happen. The 'when' is the question," the individual said, suggesting three timelines for the editorial cuts: at any moment; after a sale of Gizmodo Media Group to an external buyer, with both Penske Media Group and IAC rumored as possible suitors; or after Boston Consulting Group finishes a review of Univision business operations, which is estimated to last about 10 more weeks. (As THR reported month, Univision hired BCG in December.)

Gizmodo Media Group employees are said to be even more "freaked out" after an unsatisfying meeting Tuesday with Univision executive Sameer Deen. "I'd say we're at the point where shades of panic are permeating every day here, at least this week," said one employee of the situation.

The FMG management team has largely been dismantled, as CEO Felipe Holguín, chief content officer Daniel Eilemberg and Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti have all exited the company. This week, as part of the cuts, the FMG marketing team was done away with, though the sales team remains.

"I still don't understand why they're dismantling FMG and GMG now if they want to sell it," the individual familiar with the company said. "The whole thing to me doesn't make sense."

In a lengthy statement, Univision explained Thursday's layoffs as necessary to right-size the business. "We are taking steps necessary for our business to continue to thrive, but we will never compromise our duty and purpose to inform, entertain and empower our community, which is more important today than ever before," the company said.

A Univision spokeswoman did not respond when asked if Fusion Media Group editorial cuts are planned.