Vice Media co-founders apologize for 'boys club' culture

Vice Media has had to settle at least four cases of sexual harassment or defamation against its employees – including its current company president, according to a published report.

In response to a Saturday story in the New York Times, two co-founders of Vice apologized for a “boys club” culture that they said fostered inappropriate behavior.

The newspaper said it talked with more than two-dozen women at Vice who said they experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct at the company. The alleged episodes included groping and forced kisses, the newspaper reported.

Co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi sent their note to staff Saturday, saying the company let people down.

“From the top down, we have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive,” they said.

"From the top down, we have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive."

- Vice Media co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi, in a statement Saturday

Vice also announced that it has formed a diversity board whose members will include feminist Gloria Steinem, and that it has clarified its sexual harassment policies and expanded its maternity and paternity leave policies, Reuters reported.

In November, Vice was the subject of a Daily Beast report that described the company’s culture as a “toxic” environment, Fox News reported.

Vice began in 1994 as a punk magazine in Canada, but quickly grew into a multimedia creator of news and entertainment content for a millennial audience, the Reuters report said, noting that the Walt Disney Co. owns an 18 percent stake in Vice.

Other changes outlined Saturday by Vice include the formation of a diversity board that includes feminist icon Gloria Steinem, clarified sexual harassment policies, and expanded maternity and paternity leaves.

Fox News’ Brian Flood and the Associated Press contributed to this story.