USA TODAY reports that most members of Ebony Magazine's digital team were sacked without a warning and did not receive their final paycheck either.
After 74 years, Ebony Magazine and its sister publication Jet Magazine has shut shop. The news of the iconic Black-centric magazine closing its doors comes after former employees of the magazine took to Twitter to last week to vent their frustrations after the company fired all their employees with little to no notice.
Employees used the hashtags #EbonyOwes and #EbonyStillOwes to get the conversation trending on Twitter. USA TODAY reports that most members of Ebony Magazine's digital team were sacked without a warning and did not receive their final paycheck either. Many employees were asked to vacate their office space under the ruse of 'working remotely', but then found out that they were actually fired when they came to collect their belongings.
Can we take a moment to appreciate the Johnson Publishing Chicago office in its prime? Can you imagine walking into this EBONY/JET Magazine office?— Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombSHEL) May 23, 2019
It opened in 1972 + cost $8M ($45M today) to constrict. The mod style of the time is 🔥 Here’s a thread of its black excellence👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/8CEl14yMKL
Michael Gibson who is the co-chairman and founder of the Clear View Group, which owns Ebony, refused to comment when USA TODAY asked him about the sacking of the digital team, citing a 'policy of not commenting on any employment practices or issues.'
For millions of African-Americans who did not otherwise see themselves in the mainstream media, 'Ebony' was more than a magazine. It was a public trust. https://t.co/Vtf09V2wor— NPR (@NPR) April 13, 2019
But the latest controversy that hit the already-struggling publication was not the only one. In 2017, the National Writers' Union pressed the company into shelling out $200,000, alleging that the publication owed payments to freelance writers. It was this incident that sparked the hashtag #EbonyOwes.
Important update— Morgan Campbell (@MorganPCampbell) October 12, 2018
Ebony Magazine still owes dozens of freelancers tens of thousands of dollars. They missed a court-imposed Sept 28 deadline to pay a cohort of writers, and haven't responded to calls from @paythewriter
This is wage theft.#EbonyOwes#EbonyStillOwes
The magazine hit the stands 74 years ago after being founded by John H. Johnson in November 1945. The black-owned publication carved out a niche audience with their positive portrayals of African-American culture and had spoken about issues, personalities, and interests in a positive and self-affirming manner.
Dr. Betty Shabazz on the cover of Ebony magazine in 1969. She also wrote the magazine's feature story, "The Legacy of My Husband, Malcolm X," four years after his death. pic.twitter.com/jjPkT45XbT— Pillars Fund (@pillars_fund) July 1, 2019
Ebony featured some of the biggest stars in Black America and boasted celebrities such as Diana Ross and Sidney Poitier on their cover. Ebony even ran an issue with President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama on their cover.