Ebony magazine, one of the few black owned magazine companies still in existence, has been in hot water lately for failure to pay its writers.
In April 19, freelance journalist Cat Distasio tweeted,
“Still waiting for $2000 from @EbonyMag months after my work. Per my contract w @thekylesfiles it’s 150+ days PAST DUE.” Distasio went on to tweet, “I am not the only one who is owed thousands by @ebonymag. I have spoken to at least a half a dozen writers who have not been paid for 2016 work.”
Although Distasio is white, she has done work for the black owned magazine. After speaking about her issues with the company not paying her, she then made her complaint a little more public by tweeting,
“This just in: @EBONYMag has promised my long overdue payment TOMORROW. Watch this space for updates! #freelanceisntfree.” (That payment did, in fact, come through.)
The crazy thing is, many of the other writers who have not been compensated like, Benet J. Wilson and Adrienne Gibbs, are African American writers who have contributed pieces to the well known magazine as well.
Unfortunately, instead of being paid in full, these talented writers have been BLOCKED from the magazines twitter page.
Adrienne Gibbs was not the only person who was blocked after speaking out against not being properly compensated for work.
Some would call this an epidemic based on race, being that freelance writer Cat Distasio -who is white- was compensated immediately after her final tweet telling her followers to stay tuned for each update, but she didn’t really agree 100%..
“I don’t want to comment too much because I don’t feel like I have all the relevant facts. It’s difficult for me to determine whether there is a racial component, given that I hadn’t seen any other writers come forward (in public) to shame the magazine into paying what is owed. If there were others screaming at them and being ignored, but I was answered, then I’d be a lot more suspicious,” Distasio said.
But in fact, there are more writers who have come forward. Unlike Distasio, they were immediately silenced with the convenience of a ‘block’ button.
The company was founded by publisher John H. Johnson, EBONY
Magazine first began printing in 1945. For decades Ebony magazine was the ‘go to’ magazine for people of color.
Ever since ClearView Group, an African-American private equity firm, bought the historically-black magazine, there have been nothing but negative comments and findings within the financial and compensation area.
#EbonyOwes has now become a trending topic on timelines of many people. The #EbonyOwes story began to unfold in April after writer Jagger Blaec called Ebony out for nonpayment. Shortly following her article, other writers spoke out about not being paid.
Naturally, I question the reason for Cat Distasio’s payment from the company. What was the difference between her speaking out on twitter and the other writers who later on were blocked?
Dstacio did share a few words regarding the situation:
“I’m so sad to see all this playing out in this way. I do hope more people feel empowered to step forward. I don’t think there is anything shameful about standing up for yourself. I had a contract and they didn’t honor their commitment. It happens all the time in the profession, and it completely undermines the spirit of our work. For anyone who feels afraid of fighting for what is rightfully due to them, all I can say is that I strongly believe my integrity will win me far more work than I might stand to lose from speaking out,” said Distatsio.
Prayerfully, whether this is a faulty, delayed payment system or a nasty refusal to pay, I hope that each and every respectable writer gets compensated for their time, trouble and most of all, their hard work.
Do you think the new owners of Ebony magazine are intentionally refusing to pay writers of color?