The publisher of The Onion, Jezebel and other websites lays off 15 employees.


G/O Media, the publisher of The Onion, Gizmodo, Jezebel, and several other websites, laid off more than a dozen staff members in its video department Friday, prompting accusations from the employees’ union that websites’ editors in chief had not been consulted.

A G/O Media spokeswoman said that 15 employees had been let go. A statement said the decision was necessary to allow the company to invest in other areas.

“In our efforts to strengthen editorial teams at G/O Media, we completed a thorough evaluation of our traffic and sites,” it said. “In doing so, we’re making the unfortunate but necessary decision to change our current process of video production.”

But in a statement posted on Twitter, the GMG Union accused the company of taking the video department’s legs out from under it.

“Instead of working with editorial leadership to figure out how to execute a successful video strategy,” it said, “they laid off many talented and vital staff members, leaving a serious gap in sites’ abilities to produce any videos at all.”

In April, G/O laid off 14 workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused a sharp drop in advertising.

But the media company had been struggling before the pandemic. Last fall, nearly two dozen employees resigned from the sports news site Deadspin after its acting editor in chief was fired, causing the sports blog to fall silent for several months. Also that fall, G/O shuttered Splinter, a politics-focused blog.

G/O is owned by the Boston private equity firm Great Hill Partners, which purchased what was then known as Gizmodo Media Group from Univision in April 2019. Univision in turn had bought several of the sites from Gawker Media, which had filed for bankruptcy in 2016 following a $140 million judgment in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit secretly bankrolled by the Silicon Valley executive Peter Thiel.

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