I’m going to be honest here: for a brief moment, I thought Bryan Goldberg was handling something well. By relative standards, for sure; his company, Bustle Media Group, still laid off two dozen staffers, including the entire staff of The Outline. Yet we are likely in a economic depression without any precident, and it seemed unimaginable that a company as shambolically run as Bustle could survive without some bloodletting. This is, after all, the company and the man that bought, reanimated and then re-killed Gawker, that harasses profile writers, that buys magazines in 2019 for no discernible reason, and that was founded on the explicit premise of appropriating feminist journalism.
EBut hey, Goldberg took a 80% pay cut, he made his fellow executives take a 50% cut, and seemed to be doing what he could to avoid more layoffs. Okay! Good job, Bryan!
Imagine my surprise today, then, when I read that Bustle, two weeks after the layoffs, was approved for a Payment Protection Program loan from the federal government. The loan totals $7.5 million, which a Bustle spokesman says will used “to partially undo salary reductions across the company and expand hours for part-time and freelance writers”. No word on if those undone salary reductions include executive compensation, but...well...I’d be shocked if they weren’t!
That expanded hours bit is important: Bustle needs to increase its employee payroll to get a maximized amount of the loan forgiven per federal guidelines, since they seem to be not be rehiring laid off staff. I don’t have any insider knowledge on this, but I suspect they will be reclassifying some part-time and freelance workers temporary.
Of course, that goes completely against the spirit of the PPP, which is explicitly designed to prevent layoffs of full-time staffer, but Bryan Goldberg is Bryan Goldberg. I wonder how much of his salary got reinstated! Good job for making me think you were a decent person for a sec there, Bryan.
(If you have any information as to how Bustle is fulfilling its requirements for a PPP loan, please reach out)