While some were praising the acquisition of Oni Press by Lion Forge‘s new parent company Polarity, there was a very human side to the story as individuals were laid off just hours after the announcement. That’s even after the initial press announcement article said staffing decisions were still being made about that.
While many rightly pointed out those fired were women, queer, disabled, and people of color, they are also human beings with bills to pay and medical expenses to cover. They need our help in the short term and jobs in the long term.
While an official butcher’s bill isn’t know, we’ve been told from those in the know that most of Lion Forge’s staff has been laid off along with some of Oni’s. In essence, Oni was acquired to absorb Polarity’s comic publishing arm and run that operation out of their Portland office.
The firings undermine the quote from a damage control interview where Polarity/Lion Forge founder David Steward II has said:
…there are things that we have to do, unfortunately, from a business standpoint to make sure that the organization stays healthy and that we’re able to continue to keep on our mission going forward.
Part of the initial announcement of Polarity was one of investment and funding. While the elimination of redundant positions would be expected in a merger/acquisition, this mass layoff, including another 11 laid off recently at Lion Forge, signals a business hemorrhaging money, a comics and entertainment dot com bubble in the making. It’s a sign of weakness, not strength. It also has become the story of the acquisition.
It looks like those fired are again in the double digits leaving talent out their for other publishers to snatch up including award winning creators. Some of that talent directly responsible for the diversity in creators and content that the company claims is a priority.
The layoffs also make little sense unless production is also being cut, otherwise you’d have a smaller staff producing the content of two publishers. No matter the careful spin by Polarity, there’s many questions they haven’t answered.
Below are just some of those looking for work or need our help to help cover medical expenses (if there are more, please comment below or contact us so we can add them):
This is just some of those laid off and the real people behind corporate decisions beyond their control.
There’s much more to come to this story.