London-based LGBT news website Gay Star News has gone into voluntary liquidation with up to 20 staff having been made redundant with immediate effect.
According to an employee of the company founders Tris Reid-Smith and Scott Nunn, told staff they were being laid off today and asked to hand back all of their equipment.
The employee said the website, which published news, features and video content from around the world on LGBT issues, will cease publishing on Tuesday 30 July.
“As you can imagine, we’re all shell-shocked by this turn of events”, the former employee said.
Founders Reid-Smith and Nunn said they were “too devastated to speak” as they prepared to fold the company.
News of the site’s demise was met with sadness from other media groups in the LGBT community.
Benjamin Cohen, CEO of rival news site Pink News tweeted “Sorry to read this – good luck to staff for the future.”
Darren styles, who owns gay magazine Attitude said “That is a great shame, LGBTQ media is a small enough place as it is.
Attitude has a couple of digital vacancies coming if anyone wants to reach out to me. Can save some jobs at least.”
Gay Star News, counted among its current clients top brands such as Skittles, Manchester United, Heathrow Airport, Hoseasons, and Unsmoke. The company was set up in 2011 and recently relocated from South East London to new offices in East London.
On its first day of publishing in 2012, actor Stephen Fry tweeted a GSN story, which helped garner interest in the site. Reid-Smith sent a heartfelt message to staff a few weeks ago, outlining the tough times the company was experiencing, and that they were working flat out to resolve the issues.
Tonight he said, “we really thought we would make it through”.
The company blazed a trail as the world’s first 24/7/365 news service for the global LGBT community and reported on the issues facing the LGBT community in many nations hostile towards LGBT citizens.
Most recently, the site reported on moves by the state of Brunei to introduce the death penalty for LGBT citizens, a move that garnered worldwide condemnation of the small oil rich nation.
It also reported on the legalisation of same sex relationships in India, as well as the continuing rise of LGBT hate crimes all over the world, in addition to its coverage of LGBT stories in sport, show business, business and the music industry.