One woman said she was riding a Ferris wheel at Coney Island after a company event when a co-worker suddenly took her hand and put it on his crotch. Another said she felt pressured into a sexual relationship with an executive and was fired after she rejected him.
A third said that a co-worker grabbed her face and tried to kiss her, and she used her umbrella to fend him off.
These women did not work among older men at a hidebound company. They worked at Vice, an insurgent force in news and entertainment known for edgy content that aims for millennial audiences on HBO and its own TV network.
But as Vice Media has built itself from a fringe Canadian magazine into a nearly $6 billion global media company, its boundary-pushing culture created a workplace that was degrading and uncomfortable for women, current and former employees say.
An investigation by The New York Times has found four settlements involving allegations of sexual harassment or defamation against Vice employees, including its current president.
More from the New York Times:
Vice Media statement on harassment allegations and workplace culture
As Vice moves more to TV, it tries to keep brash voice
Vice's Shane Smith: 'Have we unleashed a monster?'
The settlements and the many episodes of harassment the women described depict a top-down ethos of male entitlement at Vice, where women said they felt like just another party favor at an organization where partying often was an extension of the job.
What stands out about the women's accounts — in the wake of a public reckoning over sexual assault and harassment by mostly older men — is that the allegations involve men in their 20s, 30s and 40s who came of age long after workplace harassment was not only taboo but outlawed.
"The misogyny might look different than you would have expected it to in the 1950s, but it was still there, it was still ingrained," said Kayla Ruble, a journalist who worked at Vice from 2014 to 2016. "This is a wakeup call."
Vice and its co-founder and chief executive, Shane Smith, have long been open about the company's provocative atmosphere. But Vice is now struggling to reconcile its past — famous for coverage of streetwear, drugs and sex, as well as its raucous parties — with its emergence as a global media company backed by corporate giants like Disney and Fox.
In a statement provided to The Times, Mr. Smith and another co-founder, Suroosh Alvi, said "from the top down, we have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive."
They said that a "boys club" culture at Vice had "fostered inappropriate behavior that permeated throughout the company." The company distributed a longer version of the statement to its employees on Saturday.
The company said it has been taking steps to transform itself in recent months as the national debate over sexual harassment reshapes workplaces, and as it became aware that The Times and other news outlets were working on articles about the experiences of women at Vice.
Vice has formed a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, which includes the feminist icon Gloria Steinem and is led by the lawyer Roberta Kaplan; hired a new head of human resources; and terminated three employees for what it called behavior inconsistent with its values. It also forbade romantic relationships between supervisors and their employees — which several current and former employees said were not uncommon and led to many problems.
The settlement involving Vice's president, Andrew Creighton, was struck in 2016, when Mr. Creighton, 45, paid $135,000 to a former employee who claimed that she was fired after she rejected an intimate relationship with him, according to people briefed on the matter and documents viewed by The Times. The woman declined to comment and asked that she not to be identified to protect her privacy.
Earlier this year, the company settled for an unknown amount with Martina Veltroni, a former employee who claimed that her supervisor retaliated against her after they had a sexual relationship, among other allegations, according to people briefed on the agreement and documents viewed by The Times. The supervisor, Jason Mojica, the former head of Vice News, was fired late last month. Ms. Veltroni declined to comment.
And last January, Vice reached a $24,000 settlement with Joanna Fuertes-Knight, a former journalist in its London office, who said she had been the victim of sexual harassment, racial and gender discrimination and bullying, according to documents viewed by The Times. Among Ms. Fuertes-Knight's claims were that a Vice producer, Rhys James, had made racist and sexist statements to her, including asking about the color of her nipples and whether she slept with black men. Ms. Fuertes-Knight, who is of mixed race, is bound by a confidentiality agreement and declined to comment.
Mr. James was put on leave in late November, according to a Vice spokesman. In the settlement agreement, both Vice and Mr. James denied any liability. Mr. James did not respond to messages sent seeking comment.
A fourth settlement, struck in 2003, involved claims that Vice defamed a female writer by publishing that she had agreed to have sex with a rapper whom she had interviewed, when she had not.
In response to questions about the settlements, a Vice spokesman said that the company had made "few settlements" over its 23-year history and that no Vice employee had been involved in more than one. "In some cases, it's clear that the company and our managers made mistakes," the company said. "In others, we disagree with the way in which the underlying facts have been characterized."
Details about the settlements and the culture of the company are based on interviews with more than 100 current and former Vice employees. As word spread within the media industry that The Times was reporting on Vice, more than a dozen women and men contacted The Times with accounts that they said were humiliating and emotionally traumatic. Several broke confidentiality agreements to speak on the record, but many spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing those agreements and fear of reprisal.
The Times also examined more than 100 pages of legal documents, emails, text messages and other filings related to Vice's operations, the settlements and allegations of harassment.
In their statement, Mr. Smith and Mr. Alvi said the problems "happened on our watch and ultimately we let far too many people down. We are truly sorry for this." They also expressed "extreme regret for our role in perpetuating sexism in the media industry and society in general."