In a move that would've shocked Ebenezer Scrooge, the chief executive of Better.com, took to Zoom Monday to lay off 900 employees, or about 15% of the online mortgage lender's staff, in the middle of the holiday season.
"This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear," said CEO Vishal Garg. "If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately."
Employees watching the video could be heard gasping and cursing as Garg told them their services would no longer be required at the New York-based company.
"F*ck you, dude," one person says on a video of the call posted on Twitter. "Are you f*cking kidding me?"
"Absolute horrible move on his part and making it all about himself," the person tweeted. "Hope those laid off bounce back quick!"
"This was coldddddddd!" another tweets.
Another commenter said "spineless CEO, firing 900 people via a video call."
"He’s expecting the rest of the staff to pick up the slack because HIS bonus wasn’t as big as last year," the person said. "F*ck him and never use Better.com."
Garg cited market efficiency, performance and productivity as the reason behind the firings. Among those fired were the diversity, equity and inclusion recruiting team.
"Having to conduct layoffs is gut wrenching, especially this time of year," CFO Kevin Ryan said in a statement to CNN Business. "However a fortress balance sheet and a reduced and focused workforce together set us up to play offense going into a radically evolving homeownership market."
Fortune report that Garg had accused the employees of "stealing" from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive and only working two hours a day.
In an email obtained by Forbes last year Garg wrote: ‘You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS and…DUMB DOLPHINS get caught in nets and eaten by sharks. SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”
The Daily Beast reported in August that one of Garg's most "loyal lieutenants" received massive perks, such as millions of dollars worth of stock options that could be vested immediately, not comparable to other employees. That person was later placed on administrative leave for bullying.
The company announced in May that it plans to go public through a SPAC, or special-purpose acquisition company, at a $7.7 billion valuation.
Better.com received $750 million in cash last week as part of the deal.