Is it a frat house or a media company?
Hover-boarding around the office, grown adults are shooting Nerf dart guns at colleagues and using megaphones to make office announcements.
These are the employees of millennial news site Mic, and some of their worst work habits are detailed in a scathing report out by the New York Times.
The Times details a culture of entitlement and frat house antics among the 20-something employees at Mic: One employee lied about going to a funeral to play hookie from work and build a treehouse, and 28-year-old CEO Chris Altchek live-streamed his own dental visit on Periscope.
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But the narrative is just the latest takedown of lazy millennials at work, provoking ire online from the born-after-1980 cohorts. After the story was published on Saturday, some came out hard against the Times for painting broad strokes about an entitled generation with an attitude.
Millennial gen’er Lauren Duca over at Teen Vogue lambasted the report:
“As many trend pieces written by, I don’t know, almost-dead, white men in armchairs would have it, we feel entitled to high-paying jobs and respect before we’ve earned it. That’s funny, because what we’re really entitled to is an ecosystem riddled with global warming, a garbage world economy and probably no social security because the oh-so-humble Generation X and Baby Boomers squandered everything before most of us were even born.”
Millennials, loosely defined as the generation born from the early 1980s into the early 2000s, now comprise the largest generation in the workforce in the United States. They are not just Mic’s hoverboard-riding employees—millennials are a massive consumer force, responsible for $600 billion in spending each year.
As Altchek himself wrote in Fortune last year, “If you’re not starting a conversation and building trust with this demographic now, you risk becoming irrelevant in the future.”
Still, Mic, originally billed as ‘PolicyMic’ back in 2011, has not been as successful in attracting the millennial clicks compared to some other millennial-focused sites, such as BuzzFeed.
But Mic asserts its site, which gets about 19 million clicks a month, is more concerned with bringing in premium advertisers and argues for pushing impact over clicks. The five-year-old news site is now valued at more than $100 million. Altchek told the Times the company is focused specifically on attracting the up-and-coming, college-educated millennials. In other words, Mic wants the eyeballs of the generation’s most affluent—not just any old millennial.
Frat house or not, it remains to be seen if Mic’s formula will resonate with the nation’s biggest generation over the long-term, posing a question largely up to the Internet’s “open mic,” if you will.