‘Don’t Mess With Us’: WebMD Parent Company Demands Return to Office in Bizarre Video

“I've seen better acting by hostages in direct to DVD movies,” one anonymous worker wrote about the video.
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Photo credit: Vimeo

The California-based parent company of WebMD has published a cringe-inducing video mocking remote workers and threatening employees who continue to refuse to return to the office.

In a video meant for internal employees but which was also published on the company’s public Vimeo page, Internet Brands CEO Bob Brisco tells employees that “unfortunately, too big of a group” is still only working remotely and that he is getting “more serious” about making sure that changes in the near future. 


“We aren’t asking or negotiating at this point. We’re informing,” he says at one point. 

In the two-minute video, which has since been updated to adress the criticism the company received, Brisco reprimands employees who have refused to come in while the classic New Orleans song “Iko Iko" plays in the background. The video crosses into the bizarre from there. At various points, a stock image crosses the screen of a white-collar remote worker taking a video call from his kitchen while still in his boxers, and a Google Hangout welcome page appears, stating that no one else is on the call because “Everyone is in person now!”

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The video ends with a series of people dancing to “Iko Iko” while the lyrics “Joc-a-mo-fee-no-ah-nah-nay” are displayed in the middle of the screen. Below them, the company provides its interpretation of the lyrics: “We mean business” or “don’t mess with us,” which appears to be lifted from online translations by sites including the official website of The Grateful Dead, which has also been known to perform the song.  


Internet Brands did not respond to a request for comment, except to say that people were busy with meetings. But the company later updated the video to respond to the criticism it subsequently received, saying that the company had been instituting a hybrid policy over the last year.

“As to comments/criticisms on the tone/style, Yeah, corporate videos are corporate videos!” the company then said, adding a shrug emoji. 

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A screenshot from the return-to-office video.

With its questionable video, Internet Brands—which, unsurprisingly, owns a number of internet brands including Medscape,, and CarsDirect—has become the latest in a string of companies to fumble its return-to-office demand. The video is emblematic of how much executives have struggled to convince workers to return to offices over the last year, leading to awkward gaffes and ill-fated ideas. Last year, the CEO of Clearlink, a Utah-based digital marketing and technology company, enraged employees when he celebrated an employee who sold the family dog after he demanded employees return to office. 

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Another screenshot from the return-to-office video.

For the video, Brisco enlisted a number of other executives at the company, including a senior member of the HR team—“Your manager will be in touch shortly about how this will be implemented and tracked”—and WebMD’s CFO. 


“We need you ready and present and we need it now,” the CFO says. “We have been slow in getting back with some people and in some places. That’s about to change.”

The video left some employees puzzled. 

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“I've seen better acting by hostages in direct to DVD movies,” one employee at the company wrote on Blind, an anonymous message board for verified employees.

This post has been updated to note that Internet Brands updated the video to address criticism it has subsequently received about the video.