New owner Buzzfeed lays off 45 from HuffPost newsroom

NEW YORK (AP) — Buzzfeed announced Tuesday that it has laid off 45 reporters, editors and producers from the newly acquired HuffPost.

HuffPost Executive Editor Hillary Frey, the website’s executive editor, and Executive Editor Louise Roug also resigned over the layoffs, Buzzfeed said.

The dismissals come just three weeks after Buzzfeed acquired HuffPost, the media outlet founded in 2005 as The Huffington Post, from Verizon Media.

“We never got a fair shot to prove our worth,” the HuffPost union said in a statement.

According to excerpts released by the company, Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti told employees at a meeting that “we will begin to restructure HuffPost today to fast-track its path to profitability. Unfortunately that includes staff reductions, and a number of talented colleagues will be laid off over the next few days.”

Peretti said “losses last year exceeded $20M, and would be similar this year without intervention. Though BuzzFeed is a profitable company, we don’t have the resources to support another two years of losses.”

HuffPost Canada will be shut down under the restructuring.

The union said the layoffs included nearly 30 percent of its membership.

“We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home,” the union’s statement said.

Many of the laid off employees were lamenting losing their jobs on social media after stints of many years, and objected to the way they were told, saying the password for entering the remote meeting was a variation of “spring is here,” making them blindsided by what would come later.

Reporter Rowaida Abdelaziz called it “an absolute cruel and brutal day at HuffPost. I am speechless.”

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