- CNN accidentally sent welcome baskets to employees who were laid off after CNN+ shut down.
- CNN+, a paid subscription service, launched in late March and shut down weeks later.
- The shuttered streaming service has put hundreds of employees out of work, the Wall Street Journal reported.
CNN accidentally sent welcome baskets to employees fired after CNN+
The paid streaming subscription service launched on March 29 and announced it would be shutting down on April 21, Insider previously reported.
A week later, hundreds of laid-off employees received welcome gifts, some with encouraging notes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“This is an incredible time to be a part of CNN,” read a note via WSJ. “Build relationships and make time to connect with colleagues and learn so you can make the most of your time here.”
CNN told WSJ that the baskets — which contained branded items, pens, headphones and a popcorn maker — were accidentally shipped.
CNN spent up to $250 million to launch and saw meager audience engagement from the start, never surpassing 10,000 viewers, according to CNBC.
Company insiders blamed former CNN President Jeff Zucker and the late WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar for the failure.
“It was all ego. All a power play for a bigger job or independence. Hubris. Nothing more,” a former WarnerMedia exec said of Zucker, Insider previously reported. “The only people who ever thought that was a good idea were either working at CNN or trying to get CNN+ to hire them. No one else.”
According to the WSJ, many CNN+ employees started in the last six months or even just a few weeks before the March launch. Employees who cannot find internal CNN roles will receive six months’ severance pay if they do not leave the company within 90 days.
A former CNN+ designer, who spoke to Insider on condition of anonymity, said they had only worked for CNN+ for a few months when they found out the service was ending.
“I remember texting my roommates and telling them I’m going to be fired,” the employee told Insider. “Everyone was deeply shocked.”