Cuts at Guardian US after row over move to Kushner-owned building

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Layoffs are coming to The Guardian US following a snafu over an abandoned move to a new office building.

In an email to staffers on Wednesday, Guardian Media Group CEO David Pemsel and editor-in-chief Kath Viner said that the British newspaper's American arm will suffer "some job losses."

"These are never easy decisions, but they are necessary to ensure a sustainable foundation from which to grow and serve our readers with our journalism," Pemsel and Viner said in the email.

The announcement was first reported by BuzzFeed. A Guardian US spokesperson said that the company is "adopting a business plan that supports our ongoing US operations and provides us with a platform for growth."

Although it remains unclear how many staffers will be affected by the layoffs and buyouts, two reporters for The Guardian US told CNNMoney that staffers were informed this week that U.S. costs would be cut by 20%.

The sources also said that Guardian US CEO Evelyn Webster told employees at a meeting earlier this week that the company incurred a $250,000 loss in nixing plans to move to a building in Brooklyn that is owned by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump and a senior White House adviser.

A separate BuzzFeed report on Monday indicated that staffers protested the move due to the building's ties to Kushner and its location. The company now plans to move to an office in midtown Manhattan instead.

The Guardian US spokesperson said that the $250,000 figure is "wrong," and disputed the suggestion that the scrapped office move amounted to a "mishap."

"We did the right thing," the spokesperson said. "As soon as we discovered the Kushner connection, we began looking for alternative premises which we have found. Guardian readers would expect nothing less."

The spokesperson said that CNNMoney's sources had "misunderstood" what Webster said in the meeting.

"There is a cost involved in the move," the spokesperson said. "There is a cost involved in staying at our existing premises for a bit longer until the new Midtown site is ready. But they do not add up to the figure your sources quoted. Once again, moving office has no impact on staff numbers."

The spokesperson did not respond to inquiries about why Webster cited the $250,000 figure.

This week's announced cuts are only the latest setback for a news organization that, like so many other media outlets, has been beset by economic headwinds. In September, The Guardian announced that it would cut staff at its US operation by 30%.

Pemsel and Viner said in the email to staff on Wednesday that they also expect to identify "some redundancies in the UK."


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