By Michael Alles
The hilarious, talented, extrovert Rajul Punjabi visited Linda Villarosa’s Intro to Journalism course in Shepard Hall last week, to speak with City College students.
Punjabi, formerly a CCNY adjunct, is currently an editor at TONIC, a sub-channel of VICE focused on wellness, health, and science. Some examples of her stories are “We Treat People With Addiction a Lot Better Than We Used to” and “Our Culture of Comparison is Making Us Petty.”
The culture at VICE is very relaxed; drugs and parties are common for the team (although you will no longer find cocaine at the holiday party). Punjabi argues that because of this culture, other media outlets view VICE as the “bad kids on the block.”
The “bad kids on the block” stereotype has been reinforced recently, after The New York Times published an article documenting numerous complaints of sexual harassment against the company. The Times attributed the complaints to the “bro culture” at VICE. Straight, white, males make up a majority of that staff at VICE, which allows them to exert their “dominance” with sexual, unprofessional, and disgusting comments and gestures.
As an employee of the company, Punjabi was careful when speaking about the scandal. Luckily, she has never experienced any form of harassment herself, but was upset to hear that several of her fellow employees were victims of the “bro culture” at VICE. “Everyone should have my experience, that’s been a very positive one,” Punjabi asserted.
Punjabi believes VICE has handled the situation appropriately. A new female CEO, Nancy Dubuc, has replaced the former CEO and founder, Shane Smith. Multiple employees have been fired due to allegations against them. VICE vows that all future complaints will be fully investigated to ensure the safety of all employees. The company has also organized free, on-site counseling.
VICE has a long way to go before these allegations are behind them. That can also be said for society in general. “What happened at VICE has happened at every single company in every industry,” Punjabi responded when asked to comment on her two years with the company. She went on to say, “This is not a VICE problem, it’s a patriarchy problem.”
Despite the “bro culture” at VICE, which seems to be slowly changing, Punjabi maintains that she is “a complete whore for this industry.”