Axios to cover bail, medical bills for employee protesters
Newsrooms typically bar reporters from public political displays
Arlington County-based digital media company Axios distributed a companywide email stating that it would cover bail or medical bills for employees who have participated in recent protests associated with the police killing of George Floyd, The New York Times first reported Tuesday.
“First, let me say we proudly support and encourage you to exercise your rights to free speech, press, and protest,” Axios CEO Jim VandeHei wrote, according to The New York Times. “If you’re arrested or meet harm while exercising these rights, Axios will stand behind you and use the Family Fund to cover your bail or assist with medical bills.”
VandeHei’s statement was in response to an employee question about the news organization’s stance on protesting.
Axios employs approximately 200 people, half of whom are newsroom staff. Several people with knowledge of the discussions at Axios told The New York Times that VandeHei had not intended for his statement to encourage newsroom employees to march in protests. He has told staff reporters that appearing to take one side could jeopardize their jobs, according to the news report.
Since its inception, Axios has raised $30 million in venture capital from Lerer Hippeau, Greycroft, e.ventures, NBC News and Atlantic Media. The Axios website attracts 7 to 10 million unique visitors per month and generated $25 million in 2018 revenue. At the end of 2019, the company was poised to raise an additional $20 million in venture capital, which raises its valuation to $200 million. Axios also has a biweekly show on HBO that VandeHei has described as “’60 Minutes’ for the new generation.” VandeHei is the former co-founder and CEO of Politico.