Nothing says Happy Holidays like a mass layoff two weeks before Christmas. Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan gave the cold announcement to his employees on Wednesday.
Ryan informed them of upcoming layoffs that would be happening at the beginning of the new year during a town hall meeting.
Ryan told concerned employees that he expected the layoff percentage to be in the single digits but refused to answer any additional questions his employees had on the layoffs.
The scene was reminiscent of a White House press conference where Karine Jean-Pierre is done answering questions and abruptly leaves the meeting.
Today, we came into WaPo’s so-called town hall with questions about recent layoffs and the future of the company.
Our publisher dropped a bombshell on us by announcing more layoffs and then walking out, refusing to answer any of our questions. pic.twitter.com/ajNZsZKOBr
— Washington Post Guild (@PostGuild) December 14, 2022
The viral video was originally posted on Twitter by reporter Annie Gowen. It shows Ryan begin to leave the meeting after his announcement with employees throwing questions and concerns out for clarification.
Ryan can be heard coldly saying that he would not “turn the town hall into a grievance session,” as an attendee responds, “It’s not a grievance session. It’s questions.”
The pleas for answers from the crowd seemed to have little effect on his decision to leave the room.
As Ryan tried to quickly leave the scene, one attendee asked what would be done to protect people’s jobs and questioned if they would be treated like the recently laid off magazine staffers.
“We’ll have more information as we move forward. Thank you very much,” was Ryan’s reply as he made his exit.
Kathy Baird, chief communications officer at The Post, confirmed the upcoming layoffs, saying that the newspaper is “evolving and transforming to put our business in the best position for future growth.”
The @washingtonpost, which literally has “Democracy dies in darkness” at the top of its paper: not one single article about @elonmusk or @twitter’s email release last night. How is this possible @JeffBezos? Do you own a newspaper or a propaganda rag?
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) December 3, 2022
There has been steady activity on the Washington Post Guild Twitter feed since the town hall meeting:
“Employees are outraged at the idea of layoffs during a time of supposed growth at a formidable news empire. It’s no reassurance to dedicated workers who have given years of service to this company that The Post will continue to hire new people even as they lose their jobs,” a tweet from Wednesday stated.
The Guild thread continued by saying that in September, Ryan told staff that The Post had the enormous financial capacity and could weather any economic downturn. “That’s not what we heard today. We were told the advertising sector was already in recession and cuts were necessary,” the tweet continued.
The thread went on to ask what the truth was and why Ryan can’t give them transparency. It seems the paper that claims “democracy dies in darkness” will keep its employees in the dark.