Lawsuit: People Magazine Is 'a Discriminatory Organization'


An African-American former editor for People is suing the magazine, alleging it’s “a discriminatory organization run entirely by white people who intentionally focus the magazine on stories involving white people and white celebrities.”

The New York Daily News has the details (as well as the original filing). According to her lawsuit, 48-year-old Tatsha Robertson was the only black senior editor at the magazine, specifically, and one of just eight African Americans among the magazine’s 110 employees, until she was laid off in May “despite her unparalleled and award-winning performance.” Her complaint also points out that since 2010, an African American has appeared on the magazine’s cover a mere 14 times — out of 265 issues total. So far this year, it’s been just Robin Roberts and Lupita Nyong’o (twice).

Robertson’s complaint specifically calls out former executive editor Betsy Gleick, alleging all manner of discriminatory bad behavior:

“You need to talk like everyone else here. You’re not at Essence [Robertson’s job prior to People, which she left in 2010] anymore,” Gleick is quoted in the suit as saying.
She says Gleick left her out of important meetings, and denigrated her attempts to do more stories on black people. Robertson said when she pitched a story about an African-American model who’d been killed, Gleick told her the victim looked like a “slut” and the magazine wasn’t interested.
“You know the rule — white suburban women in distress,” she said, according to the suit. She also allegedly said the magazine was only interested in stories involving “white, middle-class suburbia.”

Yikes. Robertson is suing People, parent company Time Inc., and Gleick herself.

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