For the first time in its 16-year history, Rooster Teeth -- the Austin-based production house behind such web series as Red vs. Blue, RWBY and gen:LOCK -- has been hit with major layoffs. The company has trimmed 13 percent of its workforce, which amounts to about 50 employees being let go.
The layoffs were confirmed by Rooster Teeth CEO and co-founder Matt Hullum, who, in a journal entry on the company's website, shared the memo that was previously sent to the RT staff notifying them of the cutbacks. According to Hullum, the layoffs come as a result of the need to right-size the studio, so it can meet future growth goals.
"Today has been a tough day at Rooster Teeth, and is unlike any other moment of organizational change we have experienced together," Hullum wrote. "As we looked ahead at all of our upcoming opportunities and challenges, we had to make some difficult decisions about how we are organized.
"Unfortunately, this meant that earlier today we reduced the size of our team by approximately 13 percent overall," he continued. "This decision is not reflective of anyone’s individual performance, and we’re thankful for all that our former colleagues have contributed. We will be doing everything we can to ease their transition, including helping them find their next opportunities."
Nearly all areas of Rooster Teeth have been affected by the layoffs, including content production, advertising, distribution and e-commerce. A company representative revealed no members of the events staff were let go, and declined to comment on whether senior executives were affected by the layoffs. As of this past July, 419 people were reportedly employed by Rooster Teeth.
Rooster Teeth was founded in 2003 by Hullum, Burnie Burns, Geoff Ramsey, Gus Sorola, Joel Heyman and Jason Saldaña. In 2014, the company was acquired by Fullscreen, which then became part of the WarnerMedia-owned Otter Entertainment. (This has led to partnerships between Rooster Teeth and other WarnerMedia companies like DC Comics and Cartoon Network.) Notably, layoffs occurred at Otter late last year, but Rooster Teeth was reportedly unaffected at the time.
In light of these new layoffs, Hullum has wished the best to those let go, explaining he is "thankful for the passion and creativity that they brought to Rooster Teeth, and grateful for the friendships we’ve formed." Moreover, several Rooster Teeth staffers have expressed support for their former colleagues on social media, as well as lamented the emotional toll this development has taken.