Ebony Magazine Still Owes Freelance Writers
Ebony Media Organization and its parent company, Clear View Group (CVG), have failed to honor the terms of a February agreement with the National Writers Union (NWU) and 44 freelance writers for about $80,000 for unpaid work that was contracted and published. NWU filed a court case in September 2017 and the parties came to an agreement in February 2018 that Ebony would pay all its unpaid invoices by Dec. 31, 2018. The payments would be made quarterly, beginning with the oldest invoices first. According to the union, almost half of the unpaid invoices that Ebony owes date back to 2016. CVG guaranteed the payments. Ebony made its first two payments on time. They covered about $30,000 owed to 14 writers. Another 14 writers were scheduled to be paid on September 30th, for another $30,000. However, Ebony has not made that payment and some of the writers have been waiting for two years to be compensated. NWU lawyers have attempted to contact both Ebony and CVG to no avail. For writers at the center of the case, the non-payment that originally took place is compounded by Ebony’s failed commitment to serve their core audience at a critical time. “In this political climate where the media is constantly being attacked by a sitting president, and mainstream publications are moving towards stories that elicit sympathy for Trump supporters, Black freelancers have fewer outlets to publish articles that challenge the narrative of this current administration,” said Shanita Hubbard, a freelancer writer and plaintiff in the case. “This is bigger than EBONY’s failure to remain consistent with the agreement. This is about EBONY’s failure to remain consistent to their commitment to elevating Black voices at a time where it’s desperately needed.” The union got involved in the suit after #EbonyOwes became a trending topic on Twitter. More here.