Cameo, the company that lets you pay a celebrity to record a personalized message or have a video call with you, announced it is laying off 87 people, or about a quarter of its staff, according to Information. According to the report, employees received the news at a general meeting on Wednesday.
Company co-founder and CEO Steven Galanis says the layoffs are a “course correction” after Cameo grew tremendously during the pandemic. The company went “from just over 100 to nearly 400” employees during the shutdown, according to Galanis’ statement to Variety. Since then, she says, “market conditions have changed rapidly.” At the beginning of 2021, Variety reported that the company’s revenue was 4.5 times higher in 2020 than in 2019. Galanis told the outlet that the success was due in part to many actors turning to the platform after other projects were put on hold and predicting they would stay. .
That prediction appears to have fallen short, given that the company is now downsizing its workforce by a sizable amount.
On twitterGalanis asked other companies to hire the members of “Cameo Fameo” who have been fired. While it’s a nice sentiment, the tone is…uncomfortable, to say the least. Unfortunately, executives who say their company is like a family and then fire a large portion of the employees is nothing new, and it’s almost always uncomfortable to see corporate culture collide with the realities of capitalism. But using a cutesy name for your workers in the context of publicly announcing layoffs probably isn’t going to soften that blow.
(Also: I understand that CEOs probably face an emotional toll when they let people go: they’ve let down people who put their livelihoods in their care. But maybe they shouldn’t call it a “brutal day at the office,” given that they probably it was much worse for the people who actually lost their jobs).
However, Galanis isn’t necessarily known for his tact; in March he allegedly said that Web3 was like the European colonization of the Americas, making an analogy about trading accounts for the island of Manhattan. Apparently this was intended to make Web3 look like a good thing. In his statement to Variety Regarding the layoffs, Galanis said he wanted to make sure the company had “time and space to nurture newer business segments like Cameo for Business, Represent and web3.” On Tuesday, the company announced its latest venture Cameo for Business; a partnership with Snap, Inc where advertisers will be able to hire Cameo artists to appear in ads on Snapchat.