Emmerich announced the news in an email to staff that was obtained by CNN Business.
Her resignation comes amid an internal investigation into allegations of toxic workplace behavior at Refinery29. Vice Media, which acquired the female-centric site last fall, hired an outside law firm last month to conduct the investigation, which is still ongoing. A spokesperson previously told CNN Business that the findings will be used as the basis for “appropriate action” taken by Vice Media. CNN Business published a lengthy investigation in June about the culture at Refinery29 shortly after Christene Barberich, cofounder and global editor in chief at Refinery29, resigned amid public allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior. Barberich told CNN Business at the time, “I couldn’t see how my own perspectives and privileges held back the changes that needed to be made to further that purpose and vision, and to provide these women with the support they needed.” Barberich had reported to Emmerich.
“After careful consideration, I have decided to move on from Refinery29,” Emmerich wrote in her staff email. “I’ve always fought for space so this amazing team can create unencumbered. I make this decision now so you can continue to do that. Now is a time for change, reflection and growth both for me personally and for us all as we move forward. The stories we’ve told, and that you will continue to tell, matter more than ever and I’m truly grateful to have been part of building a platform and business that spotlighted underreported stories and amplified unheard voices. I’m so thankful for the friends and colleagues that I’ve had the privilege of working with, and I look forward to watching Refinery29’s ongoing and sustained success. Continue to take care of yourselves and one another.”
Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc confirmed the news in a separate email to staff on Thursday.
“I want to express my gratitude to Amy for her efforts during this time,” Dubuc wrote. “Her business focus and unwavering energy have helped take Refinery29 to the next level in the media world. She leaves behind a brand that is poised to continue its mission of creative storytelling in all forms that helps all women see, feel and claim their power at this pivotal cultural moment in history.”
A spokesperson for Emmerich declined to comment beyond what was in the email.
Emmerich started at the company as head of video in January 2015. She was promoted to chief content officer later in 2015 and added the title of president in January 2019, according to her LinkedIn.
Refinery29’s union had called for Emmerich’s immediate resignation in a June 11 letter sent to Vice Media management. That letter, obtained by CNN Business, referenced accusations from staffers that Emmerich had allegedly failed them in a variety of ways from “perpetrating racist microaggressions to refusing to provide a safe and supportive working environment for the staff.” Emmerich did not respond to a request for comment on the letter at the time.
“We’re pleased that our June 11 letter to VMG management asking for Amy Emmerich’s resignation was finally addressed,” the union wrote in a tweet from its official Twitter account. “We’re looking forward to working with new leadership who’s experienced in overseeing a diverse @refinery29 newsroom committed to serving a diverse audience.