"It was a sh*t show from the day I started," one person said.
There's a shakeup happening with All Def Digital, but the truth will vary, depending on who you talk to. Russell Simmons has been facing an uphill legal battle after the "#MeToo" movement prompted women to share their stories of alleged sexual misconduct at the hands of the famed hip hop executive. The Def Jam Recordings co-founder has launched a number of projects under his Def Jam umbrella for decades, and in 2013 he introduced All Def Digital as an online, social media-driven platform.
It didn't take long for ADD to gain popularity, and they soon found themselves growing. They hosted original series', partnered with major networks, and was a leading force in the publication of new, fresh, online content that was urban-centered. However, Rolling Stone sheds light on the darker side of the company, as told by former employees who chose to remain anonymous.
“No one knows the truth, which is the scariest part of it,” one person reportedly said. “I don’t think anyone’s ever been told the truth in that building. The way Chris is talking about it now makes it sound even crazier.” The "Chris" being referred to is ADD's CEO Chris Blackwell who recently came forward to dispute publicized claims that ADD had axed their entire staff and was on its way to being a thing of the past.
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Another employee suggested that ADD was always a poorly-run company, but when Simmons was more hands-on and running things, the company was at its worst. “Every bad stereotype that you hear about what this industry could be, thrived in that environment,” they said. “It was a sh*t show from the day I started. It was everything you were warned about. This ‘oh it’s [the] post-Russell’ era? It was just a jersey they wore for show. We were down to just two women at one point because literally, every other person with a vagina walked out of the building.”
According to the report, employees were almost forced to work jobs that they weren't hired to do and some even were physically injured. Many reportedly attempted to file complaints with their Human Resources Department, only to later learn that there wasn't one set in place. They asserted that poor leadership and bad management as the reason behind the thriving company's decline.
Meanwhile, Blackwell reportedly stated in an email that ADD is still up and running, but that "We're reorganizing in advance of a strategic deal." He had no further comment.