Complex Networks' head of HR is leaving as the media company grapples with allegations of bullying and favoritism
  • Hip-hop and sneaker-focused Complex Networks has been in the spotlight after former staffers spoke out about problems they said they experienced while working there.
  • Head of HR Jay Salim, who was placed on leave after a former employee publicly called him out for his handling of a workplace problem, has left the company.
  • Complex president Christian Baesler told employees on August 13 that an investigation into the complaint was winding down and that he planned to share more information in the coming days.
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Complex Networks' head of HR, who was placed on leave in June, has left the company.

Jay Salim was placed on leave along with Arman Singh Walia, senior director of social media, shortly after former employee, Tiffany Wines, named both executives in a statement posted June 19 on Twitter in which she alleged a culture and examples of "favoritism," "misogyny," and "anti-Blackness" at the hip-hop and sneaker-focused company, a joint venture of Verizon and Hearst.

In her statement, Wines said she blacked out on her way home from work in April 2019 after eating cookies left out in the office that she later believed to be drug-laced.

She claimed in her public statement that she brought up the incident to Salim and that he apologized and said the cookies were brought in by two visitors but wouldn't make an announcement about the incident to the rest of the company, as she asked.

Wines also called for Salim and Walia's resignations. Other former female employees followed up with tweets about their own negative work experiences there. 

Complex said in June it hired a law firm, Greenberg Traurig, to investigate the claims made by Wines and others. It subsequently said it hired an consulting firm, United Minds, owned by PR firm Weber Shandwick, to conduct a "full cultural audit" in response to these and other recent events.

"Recent events have compelled us to take a deeper look at ourselves and the way things have been, especially for our Black and female employees, and we know there is work to be done to evolve our culture into one we're proud of," Complex said in a statement to Business Insider in July.

 

On August 12, Salim tweeted that he had accepted a role at a nonprofit, Life Camp. According to his Linkedin, he is interim chief of staff and HR officer at the company. Salim declined to comment for this article.

Walia and his lawyer did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls. Complex Networks declined to comment about Salim and Walia's employment status.

According to a screenshot of a Slack message viewed by Business Insider, Complex president Christian Baesler told employees on August 13 that the law firm investigation was concluding and that Complex planned to share more next week.

"There is nothing more important for us right now than addressing the areas we need to improve and forging a path forward," he wrote.

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