Getting laid off right before the holidays is almost cinema-level cruel, but crowdfunding and the kindness of strangers is making this unhappy circumstance slightly less awful for scores of journalists who just lost their jobs in the UK.
British music publisher TeamRock, which published niche music titles, including Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog, went belly up earlier this week, resulting in the immediate “redundancy” of 73 staffers, most of them journalists. (Admittedly, it’s unclear how “redundancy,” a term of art for getting the chop, continues to apply when almost no one is left on the payroll.)
The laid off employees received no severance pay.
Seven employees are staying on temporarily to help the bankruptcy court deal with administrative matters while they seek a buyer for its assets.
On hearing the news, Ben Ward, the lead singer of a British band Orange Goblin, set up a crowdfunding account to raise money for the former employees of the bankrupt publisher. In his appeal to rock-and-metal fans, Ward wrote that the music journos “have supported the rock and heavy metal scene in this country for decades. Now we, the rock community, need to pull together to help give something back.”
According to recent reports, the crowdfunding appeal, hosted on JustGiving, had raised £83,000 (around $102,000) for the company’s laid off employees from some 3,000 donors.
Ward is also organizing a fundraising concert to benefit TeamRock’s former employees, scheduled for January 5 in London.