In a public response to this site and while speaking to Michelangelo Signorile, Regent/Here Media’s SVP Stephen Macias refuted our claims that the staff of The Advocate had been “gutted.” Although he didn’t like the word we used, Macias refused to clarify just how many people were let go from the company. Well, now we know: 24 percent of Here Media, or 39 people. Huh. And we only claimed a baker’s dozen!
In addition to cuts at The Advocate, we reported layoffs at HIV Plus, and other bad news (like rising health benefits costs) for employees that remained at Here. Except a public disclosure filed today from Regent/Here chief Paul Colichman and Steve Jarchow (pictured) reveals a much gorier picture.
Namely, that a quarter of all personnel were let go since “restructuring” began in July. Moreover, there was “consolidation of certain facilities” (read: offices closed). All that saved Regent some $786,000!
But they’re not done yet: “The Company expects to be able to complete this restructuring in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, with certain payments continuing beyond the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 in accordance with the terms of existing severance and other agreements.”
(Colichman, you’ll recall, was forced to have his company’s stock “LGBT” delisted from NASDAQ, and this public disclosure follows others that reveal Colichman is being handed gobs of his own stock. Also, it’s a reminder that the company, though based conducting most business in Los Angeles, is registered in Delaware, where business taxes are more friendly.)
The company will point to the acquisition of PlanetOut Partners and LPI Media for this “redundancy reduction.” Which might be accurate, to an extent — of course there’s overlap when two media companies merge. But many of those layoffs came within Regent/Here’s editorial department, and those positions will not be replaced.
We don’t bring this up to stomp on anyone who just lost a job, or even to bash Regent/Here’s business tactics. As we highlighted before, Regent/Here is in a tough business climate, and gay publications aren’t the only media feeling the pinch. But these hard facts do point out that the company isn’t exactly forthcoming with the truth about its stability or its finances, and the one person that Regent did agree to an on-the-record interview with — Sirius/XM’s Signorile — has an interest in seeing Regent succeed (he is paid to write a column for The Advocate). As you can tell from the interview, Signorile ate up Macias’ lines without a challenge.
Well, the Securities and Exchange Commission won’t.