“We acknowledge that structural change also requires new leadership,” it continues. “Together with Andy Cohn, we have agreed it is time for a change. After 16 years, Andy will be leaving The FADER. We are proud of what we have built together and we are very grateful for all of his contributions in helping us grow The FADER during this time. As we work to determine the best path forward for our executive team, we will be taking a more active role in the management and operations of The FADER.”
Cohen and Stone go on to list a number of steps they’ll be taking to address employee concerns, including improving the company’s internal HR function; bringing in an outside consultant to help improve its vetting process for prospective employees; overhauling the employee review process to assess existing employees’ compliance with company policies; providing mandatory diversity and inclusion training to all staff as well as management and communications training to all managers; and reviewing other company policies to determine what additional changes should be made.
The departures of both Cohn and Sundermann were fallout from a Jezebel investigation published Nov. 7 in which several women, including former FADER employees, detailed allegations of sexual misconduct and coercion against the two men. Cohn was specifically accused of having “enhanced” the company’s “culture of harassment,” including hiring his friend Sundermann, despite existing rumors about his inappropriate behavior. He was also accused of unbuttoning his pants in front of a group of female FADER employees at the 2011 CMJ Music Festival and later pressuring one of the women to drop her complaint over the incident.
You can read the full letter below.
We recognize that some of you are traveling for the holiday but wanted to update you in real time about the results from the independent investigation we commissioned into workplace culture, following recent allegations of misconduct.
The FADER aspires to be the most welcoming place in the industry for creative minds to share their talents with the world. Achieving this means holding ourselves accountable when we fall short—and implementing and improving processes, policies, and procedures that ensure prompt reporting of any potential issues and promote inclusivity.
The independent investigators conducted interviews with both current employees and former employees and reviewed internal emails and other documents. In short, we have determined we need to make some real changes in how this company runs in order to achieve our goals.
We acknowledge that structural change also requires new leadership. Together with Andy Cohn, we have agreed it is time for a change. After 16 years, Andy will be leaving The FADER. We are proud of what we have built together and we are very grateful for all of his contributions in helping us grow The FADER during this time. As we work to determine the best path forward for our executive team, we will be taking a more active role in the management and operations of The FADER.
Here are the things we will be doing immediately:
- We will be improving our internal HR function by dedicating more resources to it and doing a better job of encouraging employees to take advantage of the assistance HR can offer with all aspects of their jobs, including ensuring everyone understands the process for reporting concerns or complaints.
- We will engage an outside consultant to help us improve our hiring process, including the vetting of employees prior to hiring.
- We are going to vastly improve our review process so that they evaluate both substantive “job” performance as well as compliance with our company policies.
- We plan to provide mandatory diversity and inclusion training to all staff, including senior management. Additionally, all managers will complete management and communications training.
- Finally, we will be reviewing other company policies to determine whether any other changes should be made. We are eager to hear from all of you and will have an ongoing process of reviewing our progress by consulting outside experts.
Our goal has always been to create an inclusive space that fosters discovery and connections—and that is still our goal today. So, as we work to determine the best path forward, we encourage each of you to share your questions, concerns, and ideas for how to best do this. We are grateful for your incredible contributions that make The FADER successful.
Thank you again and we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Jon and Rob