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‘Essence’ magazine rocked by alleged sexual harassment, bullying and firings

Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications (right) and Richelieu Dennis, Essence Ventures owner and CEO. (Photo by A.R. Shaw for Steed Media)

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 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. Please flip the page to see Essence’s comeback to the inflammatory charges.

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