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Media Company Rooster Teeth Shutting Down After 21 Years
Entertainment company Rooster Teeth (RT) is shutting down after 21 years of operation. After unsuccessful attempts to sell the unprofitable fandom, gaming and comedy entertainment division, parent company Warner Bros. Discovery is shutting down Rooster Teeth’s operations. RT general manager Jordan Levin announced the shutdown of the Austin-based company Rooster Teeth at an all-hands meeting Wednesday and a memo distributed to staff. The closure of Rooster Teeth will result in layoffs of its approximately 150 full-time employees and will put dozens of contractors and part-time content creators out of work. Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is currently in talks to sell the rights to certain Rooster Teeth intellectual property such as the popular anime-style series RWBY, sci-fi spoof Red vs. Blue, and Michael B. Jordan’s animated mecha series Gen:Lock. In addition, WBD is seeking to sell the Roost podcast network, which has shows spanning gaming, true crime, fandom, comedy and food. For the time being it will continue to operate. Rooster Teeth was founded in 2003 by Burnie Burns, Matt Hullum, Geoff Ramsey, Jason Saldaña, Gus Sorola and Joel Heyman. After multiple ownership changes, it became part of Warner Bros. Discovery two years ago. In 2019, then-owner WarnerMedia appointed Levin as general manager of Rooster Teeth as part of a reorg in which Hullum, who was previously RT’s CEO, Burns and Ramsey assumed new creative roles at the company. Burns exited Rooster Teeth in 2020. Rooster Teeth’s staff expanded to a headcount of more than 400 at one point, but was continually whittled down over the years in an attempt to turn the enterprise profitable. Rooster Teeth has operated at a loss for the past decade. In addition to its media ventures, Rooster Teeth sold merchandise and ran the RTX in-person fan conventions starting in 2011. Levin recently announced that the 2024 RTX would be canceled, while also telling staff that the event has never been profitable. The company has had many different controversies. In 2022, Rooster Teeth issued an open statement of apology for “hateful and hurtful” conduct toward employees over the years, which came after a former staff member detailed her experiences of being harassed, underpaid and marginalized at the company.
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