It’s no joke. Comedy web site Cracked.com has quietly laid off numerous staff members, including senior editors. While Cracked has not made any official announcement, the layoffs have been confirmed on Twitter by those writers that were laid off. David Wong, executive editor at Cracked.com, also weighed in on the job cuts and the current state of Cracked.com.
Cracked.com, an edgy humor web site founded by Jack O’Brien in 2005, is descended from Cracked magazine, which started in 1958. The print magazine ended its illustrious run in February 2007.
E. W. Scripps Co (NYSE:SSP), which acquired Cracked in April 2016 for $39.0 million in cash, recently announced disappointing third-quarter results, placing some of the blame on the “subpar financial performance” of Cracked.
In early November, Scripps announced that third-quarter revenue declined 7.3% year-over-year to $216.0 million. The company swung to a third-quarter loss of $26.7 million, or $0.32 per share. In the third quarter of 2016, Scripps reported net income of $12.5 million, or $0.15 per share.
In the third quarter, Scripps initiated a restructuring of its operations. This included a new management team tasked with a reorganization that merges local operations into a new Local Media division. The national contents brands are also being merged into a National Media division. These changes will take place January 1, 2018.
Commenting on the third-quarter results, Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said, “In the third quarter, we began a deep analysis of our operating division and corporate cost structure, our non-core assets and the opportunities for our national content brands.”
“We are disappointed by the subpar financial performance at Cracked and the resulting impairment and goodwill write-down. But we are moving quickly to right size the business’s expense structure, curtail investment and bring it to profitability for 2018.”
This may help investors stomach the roller coaster ride Scripp’s share price has been on. Since the start of the year, Scripp’s stock has lost more than 20% of its value.
Cracked.com Lays Off Upper Management
Part of “right sizing” Cracked’s business expense structure clearly means layoffs. Cracked isn’t saying very much yet but those let go have confirmed the humor web site has laid off a number of writers and editors, including former managing editor, John Cheese.
I am officially looking for writing and/or editing work. If anyone has any leads or openings, please feel free to pass them along.
— John Cheese (@johncheese) December 4, 2017
Other former employees also took to Twitter to confirm the Cracked layoffs.
After seven years I'm a freelance writer again. Proud of all my work at Cracked and excited for my future. See you guys in some new capacity soon.
— JF Sargent (@JFSargent) December 4, 2017
So I need a job now, if anyone needs a writer / editor / on-air personality.
— Tom Reimann (@startthemachine) December 4, 2017
Meanwhile, over at the official Cracked forum, this is what David Wong had to say.
“The site is still here! I’m still here!
There is a core group of editors still here to continue the operation and at this time we still have all contractors/freelancers doing the same stuff as they were doing before. But yes, sadly a lot of staff were let go, particularly a lot of those based on LA, including a lot of the faces you know from video.
The site will continue to publish, we still need article submissions, we still need the freelancers to keep doing their thing (more than ever, actually) but it will be a bit of a scramble in the near term as we figure out who is doing what.”
“Cracked, Anti-#Gamergate Website Lays Off A Lot Of Staff Including John Cheese,” One Angry Gamer, December 5, 2017.
“E.W. Scripps Buys Humor Site Cracked for $39 Million,” The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2016.
“Scripps Reports Third-Quarter 2017 Results,” The E. W. Scripps Company, November 3, 2017.
“Did Something Happen to Cracked,” Cracked Forum, last accessed December 7, 2017.