Bustle, the flagship site under Bustle Digital Group, laid off eight staffers and some freelancers on Thursday.
Two people who were let go told CNN Business their positions were eliminated due to “restructuring.” It appears that Bustle’s books team was eliminated and the lifestyle and entertainment teams have been downsized.
“This was completely out of the blue,” a person who was laid off told CNN Business. “Being that I’ve been with the company so long and have reached the top of the pay scale, I have to imagine that has to contribute to why I was one of the ones eliminated.”
CEO Bryan Goldberg founded Bustle as a women-focused site in 2013 and has since added to his portfolio of brands under Bustle Digital Group. Recent acquisitions include Inverse, Mic, Nylon, The Outline and Gawker. Bustle Digital Group currently has about 340 employees. Goldberg is also the co-founder of Bleacher Report, which was sold in 2012 to CNN’s parent company.
But the transformation hasn’t been without stumbles. BDG bought Mic in a fire sale after a massive round of layoffs that essentially broke up its union. Nylon’s staff was gutted after being acquired. And Gawker has yet to relaunch after its two staff writers quit in the first two weeks, reportedly citing inappropriate behavior by the editorial director. The rest of the staff was later let go and the launch was postponed.
Work at Bustle has been “tense” over the last few months, two laid-off staffers told CNN Business. Business Insider reported at least 17 staffers had been quietly let go from September to October.
Among those who tweeted news of their departure are Emma Lord, Mallory Carra, Jamie Primeau, Sage Young, Cristina Arreola, Tanya Ghahremani, Nicole Pomarico, Leah Marilla Thomas, Lucia Peters and Lindsay Denninger.
“There have been a lot of editorial changes and pressure on writers to meet those changes quickly. It’s created a very tense environment,” a former Bustle staffer told CNN Business.
When asked for a confirmation on the number of layoffs at Bustle and the reason for the changes, a spokesperson did not elaborate but touted other hires.
“BDG has recently hired dozens of writers and editors across our many properties — especially Nylon, Mic, Inverse, and Input. Bustle’s new editorial leadership will soon be announcing several marquee hires as we prepare for a major site relaunch in early 2020,” the spokesperson said.