I believe the phrase is “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” but “I tried to tell, y’all” works perfectly fine, too.
For years, The Root has reported on the myriad of struggles that have derailed the once-revered Ebony Magazine. From its failure to compensate contributors to taking The Root to court for calling that shit out to breaking the story that Ebony’s entire online staff was allegedly fired without pay, which resulted in a class-action lawsuit, we’ve covered it all.
And now, to the surprise of nobody, comes the news that Ebony’s board of directors has ordered the removal of CEO Willard Jackson Jr. As part of its ongoing investigation, the board has commissioned an independent inquiry into a number of financial transactions that have occurred under Jackson’s stewardship.
Additionally, according to a statement provided by Ebony, the board of directors will “continue to assess all structural, managerial, and financial facets of the organization with an eye toward amplifying the current calls for economic and racial justice and equality.” The selection of an interim CEO and operating committee are underway, and the board is expected to make an announcement “soon” regarding “the payment of delinquent compensation to EBONY employees.”
“The board of directors individually and collectively understands the legacy and value of Ebony to Black communities globally,” Jacob Walthour Jr., newly elected chairman of Ebony’s board of directors and co-founder of Blueprint Capital Advisors, said in a statement provided to The Root. “Founder John H. Johnson conducted himself and Ebony business with a level of class, integrity and honor that has come to define Black professionalism in America. While the Board expects that Ebony will always need to adapt its business model to stay relevant, it must never compromise the core values of Mr. Johnson.”
“As we approach Ebony’s 75th anniversary, now more than any other time since the Civil Rights movement, Black people need a medium to express ‘their’ voice and record this historical moment,” John C. Robinson, an Ebony editor, said. “We are committed to the preservation of this valuable asset to the Black community and being a part of the next 75 years.”
Jackson is a partner in CVG Group, which purchased Ebony in 2016 courtesy of financing provided by Parkview Capital Credit Inc.
It’s been an ugly year for us all, but hopefully with an overhaul in leadership and a renewed commitment to reputable business practices, Ebony will be able to repair its relationships within the Black community and bounce back.