Several Black female employees and former employees came forward via Twitter to detail their experiences with a toxic working environment under Abiola Oke, the CEO and Publisher of the Okayplayer and OkayAfrica brands.
A letter shared by the women who came forward—which includes former Music Editor Ivie Ani, former Marketing Manager Oyinkan Olojede and former Arts and Culture Editor Antoinette Isama—detailed that from 2015 until 2020, while working under Oke, they were subject to “a lack of support and resources, below market salaries, inadequate leadership, targeting and sabotage, slander, verbal abuse, inappropriate behavior, gaslighting, lack of empathy, manipulation, rationalizing poor or unethical conduct and wrongful termination.”
In addition, a woman once employed by the company also anonymously offered her account of verbal and sexual assault by Oke.
The Roots’ drummer Questlove, who co-founded Okayplayer as a music collective in 1987 before it became an online music publication, confirmed Oke’s resignation and exit on Wednesday.
“More announcements coming up. This was long overdue,” Quest wrote on Instagram. He shared the company’s statement regarding Oke’s removal, which read “We have begun the process of engaging an outside advisor to review and investigate our current and past policies and practices. We’re committed to creating a work environment that’s inclusive and respectful for all.”
In a tweet posted Wednesday, Isama shared that the women who came forward asked Questlove to release a public statement regarding the matters at hand. However, he “proceeded to separate himself from the platforms he co-founded” through a company statement.
Oke’s removal comes in the midst of a media reckoning in which mostly Black women are coming forward to share their stories of unfair workplace treatment, toxic behavior, microaggressions, tokenism and more at both white and Black publications. Black and non-Black women of color employed or formerly employed at media entities like Complex, Refinery29, and Bleacher Report have spoken up.