As the coronavirus continues to make layoffs a devastating inevitability across industries, one thing remains clear: It’s probably a bad idea to mess with your IT department — especially if they’re armed with a CMS and withering movie references. Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, owned by Valence Media, learned this lesson today after reportedly laying off a number of employees, including their IT staff. Presumably, the former employees exacted their revenge by posting a short (but impactful) article to Billboard titled “Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Lays Off Entire IT Staff Due to Covid19.” The article, credited in the byline to “devops,” was accompanied by a timeless photo of Animal House’s Kent “Flounder” Dorfman and a body paragraph also quoting the movie. It simply and evocatively stated:
“In the wake of Covid19 pandemic, Valence Media has decided to lay off their entire web IT staff. Effective today. The online Billboard Charts are essentially perfect, so IT staff are no longer needed. Fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life …”
The article, which was also tweeted out by the official Billboard account, was quickly removed, though not before catching the attention of readers on social media. What’s more, since the internet is forever, a record of the article now exists for all to ponder. And if we can learn anything from this, it’s to consider the human impact of profit-driven decision-making, and also perhaps to revisit Animal House during quarantine.