Vice and Vogue Put Their Collaboration on Hold

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Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief at Vogue and artistic director at Conde Nast, and Shane Smith, Vice co-founder and CEO.
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief at Vogue and artistic director at Conde Nast, and  Shane Smith, Vice co-founder and CEO. Credit: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg and Mukherjee/Bloomberg

Vice and Vogue are putting their new content collaboration on hold, just four months after announcing the partnership in October to a room full of ad buyers.

"Both Vogue and Vice are committed to creating the most relevant, innovative content experiences for audiences, and at this time, have mutually decided to delay their content collaboration," the companies said in a joint statement.

A Vogue spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the effort, tentatively called Project Vs when the companies announced it at an Omnicom Media Group event, had secured sponsors yet.

Digiday reported the suspension of the partnership earlier on Wednesday.

The news follows months of upheaval at the Brooklyn-based Vice, which is dealing with the aftermath of a December New York Times report that reported several complaints of sexual assault and harassment as well as a "boys' club" culture. In late January, Vice said Chief Digital Officer Mike Germano, who had been on leave during an internal investigation after he was named in the Times story, would not be returning to the company.

The company's president, Andrew Creighton, who was also named in the New York Times story, has been under investigation for roughly two months. That investigation is still ongoing, a Vice spokesman said Wednesday. Ad Age has asked Germano for comment on the allegations in the Times report. A Vice spokesman referred Ad Age back to Creighton's statement to the Times, in which said he was "occasionally intimate" with a Vice employee but "not involved in the decision to let her go."

Though Vice has made efforts to improve its work environment, including overhauling its HR policies and issuing mandatory anti-harassment training, some marketers have been leery over continuing to work with the company. Two weeks ago, Ally Financial, a digital bank based in Detroit, said it has paused its relationship with Vice following the sexual misconduct allegations. Another brand complained of a lack of communication with clients from the outlet, which operates creative agency Virtue Worldwide.

Earlier this month, a former Vice channel manager and product manager sued the company, alleging systemic salary discrimination by paying men more than women. Vice has said it is planning to offer pay parity by the end of this year.

Vogue, for its part, has seen sexual misconduct complaints against contributing photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber. Recently, another photographer for the magazine, Patrick Demarchelier, was also accused of sexual misconduct by several models, according to a Boston Globe report. Vogue has stopped working with the photographers, who have denied the allegations.

The suspension of the Vice and Vogue partnership is a reversal for Vogue, which told Digiday on Feb. 18 that the collaboration was moving forward and that Vogue was encouraged by Vice's attempts to improve its workplace.

When asked about the reversal, the Vogue spokeswoman declined to elaborate on Wednesday's statement. She said there is no current planned date to resume the project.

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