Ex-employees received the welcome baskets shortly after the service shuttered.
CNN+, the paid subscription streaming service of CNN, launched on March 29th and announced its closure just three weeks later on April 21st.
Roughly a week later, apparently when the service would have been running for its first month, employees who had just been laid off were sent welcoming gift baskets with encouraging messages tucked inside.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the notes said “This is an incredible time to be part of CNN” and “Build relationships and take time to connect with colleagues and learn so that you make the most of your time here”.
CNN told WSJ that the baskets – which were stuffed full of branded swag such as pens, headphones, and a popcorn maker – were sent by mistake.
CNN+ was a massive flop, reportedly never achieving more than 10,000 viewers at any given time. Many of its employees had been hired less than six months ago, if not mere weeks before the service launched.
Insiders blame former president Jeff Zucker and departed WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar for what they call “ego”.
“Hubris. Nothing more,” a former executive said of Zucker. “The only people who ever thought this was a good idea either worked at CNN or were trying to get CNN+ to hire them. Nobody else.”