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Essence Magazine At The Center Of Alleged Sexual Harassment, Bullying, & Firings

White Americans are not the only ones undergoing a process of reckoning and painful introspection. Another one could be taking place at the epicenter of Black female-centered media in the United States.

Members of the executive leadership team at the iconic Essence magazine are reeling after anonymous female staffers outlined explosive accusations of rampant sexual harassment, chronic bullying, nepotism, cronyism, colorism, classism and wrongful terminations among a multiplicity of alleged transgressions.

Writing under the singular name #BlackFemaleAnonymous for Medium.com, the accusers penned a scorching editorial on the supposed inner workings of the venerated publication that was founded in 1970 during the apex of the Black Power movement.

#BlackFemaleAnonymous (BFA) unleashed its torrent of potentially brand-crushing accusations by calling the C-Suite leadership at Essence “fraudulent” for promulgating the image that it’s aggressively and holistically serving the needs of African American women. Instead, Essence is the “most deceptive Black media company in America” because, for example, it “aggressively monetizes #BlackGirlMagic but the company does not internally practice #BlackGirlMagic,” the writers wrote in their article published by Medium.com on Sunday, June 28, 2020.

BFA demands the immediate resignation of the entire leadership team, beginning with Essence Ventures owner and CEO Richelieu Dennis and includes Essence Ventures board member and former Essence Communications CEO Michelle Ebanks, COO Joy Collins Profet, and CCO Moana Luu. BFA also petitioned Essence’s most loyal and fruitful business partners at AT&T, Coca-Cola, Chase Bank, Ford, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Walmart and Warner Media to cease all campaigns until the leadership has stepped aside.

If BFA’s demands are not met within five days after the publication of the article, BFA threatens to expose the entire C-Suite team with receipts of their incendiary complaints.

Essence categorically denies the accusations outlined in the BFA’s article.

Below is a short excerpt from Essence magazine and Essence Ventures’ response to the anonymous accusations:

“It is extremely important to us that we foster a safe, transparent and respectful workspace for everyone and that we expect that from everyone – not just those who work for us, but also those who work with us.”

“… We are not afraid of the truth. The allegations and mischaracterizations throughout – whether of pay inequity, intimidation, and otherwise – are unfounded attempts to discredit our brand and assassinate personal character. Further, accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct are extremely serious matters, and we fully understand the gravity of the implications. 

“… Our message is simple – the accusations are false and we fully deny them. We are not succumbing to a cancel culture. We are not going to defame anyone. We are not meeting hurt with hurt. We will continue to do the work to be better every day and come together as an organization for each other and for Black women globally to build together, to change together, to rise together. #BlackWomenRiseTogether”

[via RollingOut Magazine]