Things over at BuzzFeed are, well, basically as you might expect them to be over at BuzzFeed following layoffs, which culled 15 percent of the staff and amounted to roughly 200 jobs across the company. The layoff process was staggered over several days, leaving many staffers in limbo and in the dark, not knowing whether or not they would still have jobs or, most cruelly, when they would find out. On Tuesday afternoon, a staffer from the team in India asked when their layoffs would be happening, since the team was initially told Monday and that day had come and gone. CEO Jonah Peretti replied, “checking on this for you!” (Layoffs have since been completed for the India team, a source confirms.)
This week, CEO Jonah Peretti is scheduled to hold an all-hands meeting. But staffers, sources tell Intelligencer, are still unclear about when and where this meeting is happening. Peretti sent an email to staff on Monday noting a company-wide all-hands meeting for Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET. But no calendar invite followed and staffers — as per provided screenshots from the company’s internal Slack — were still confused as of Tuesday morning. Which, while not an indictment of BuzzFeed management which clearly informed staff of the meeting, feels like a good indication of the current vibe at the company.
Staffers have been given the option to submit semi-anonymous questions in advance. (This is not a change from previous all-hands meetings, current and former BuzzFeed employees confirm.) While names will not be read during the meeting, BuzzFeed staff was informed submitting a question via the provided Google form would record their name for management.
At least one BuzzFeed staffer told Intelligencer this deterred them from submitting a question.
Meanwhile, things in BuzzFeed’s “Ask Jonah” Slack channel — a channel devoted to employees asking questions of their CEO, who will ostensibly answer them — are also as you might expect. A message from Peretti at 12:54 p.m. said management had been holding off on communication with remaining staff out “respect” for those laid off. “For US employees: out of respect for people leaving the company, we didn’t want to begin sharing information about the new org structure and reporting while they were still at the company. Not fair for them to have to sit through presentations or read slack/email about our future plans,” Peretti wrote. “We will begin more communications today, have all hands Wednesday, and smaller meetings through the end of the week and next week.”
“It’s hostile. He [Peretti] is getting slammed in multiple languages,” a source said of the Slack channel. “Currently Portuguese.” (BuzzFeed laid off at least seven staffers in Brazil on Tuesday.)