Extra security personnel were spotted outside CNN CEO Christ Licht’s 17th floor office last week after he handed pink slips to nearly 10% of the failing network’s staff in highly anticipated layoffs, according to Radar.
The beefed up security presence was spotted on Thursday, in what the outlet described as an ‘effort to diffuse any angry CNN employees who met the chopping block’ after the 51-year-old executive announced the next round of layoffs. Hundreds of additional staffers were reportedly let go, including both on-air talent and off-camera employees.
Some notable names who were let go from the struggling news network included CNN contributors like Preet Bharara and Paul Begala; commentators like Chris Cillizza; and correspondents such as Dan Merica and Alison Kosik.
But while Licht axed hundreds of employees, and hired extra security detail to prevent any unwanted escalations, some CNN employees praised the network chairman for choosing to keep his office doors open all Thursday so his 4,000 remaining staffers could speak with him about the latest round of layoffs. -Radar
But while Licht reportedly kept his office doors open (and his security tight), some employees threw shade.
“What were we supposed to talk about?” said one staffer.
Another staffer located in DC said that “everyone’s depressed” following the layoffs, which began last Thursday when Licht executed on “part of continued cost-cutting by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery” that was telegraphed in a Wednesday memo.
“It will be a difficult time for everyone,” said CEO Chris Licht in a Wednesday memo, who noted that paid contributors will learn their fate on Wednesday, while full-time employees would be informed of their status on Thursday.
“Our people are the heart and soul of this organization,” Licht added. “It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many. I recently described this process as a gut punch, because I know that is how it feels for all of us.”
The cuts are not a surprise, with Licht warning employees in late October that the news division would be undergoing a restructuring, citing “widespread concern over the global economic outlook.”
But they do come amid decreasing morale at CNN, which has already seen significant turnover this year since the Discovery merger. One of the first moves made after the merger closed was to shut down the CNN+ streaming service, laying off a couple hundred employees in the process. -Hollywood Reporter
Meanwhile, Radar reports that the next round of layoffs at the network could come as early as the first week of December.
“There are huge nerves about that,” said one insider. “It wasn’t clear from that town hall who they’re going to fire. We’re waiting for answers on that.”
Is Licht actually putting out the dumpster fire?
Reprinted with permission from Zero Hedge.