Stories have surfaced in the past few weeks that Ebony owes numerous writers back pay for work they did for the magazine. A story from The Establishment spurred the #EbonyOwes hashtag into trending territory on Twitter. The article cites numerous freelance writers who say that the magazine owes them.
According to a press release, the National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981 represents 23 Ebony writers who are collectively owed more than $50,000 in unpaid wages. The union estimates that more than $200,000 in back wages are owed to as many as 50 freelancers. The magazine recently made a public commitment to fix the problem, but NWU President Larry Goldbetter said that words aren't good enough:
Some of the invoices we’ve seen are over a year old. We are pleased Ebony Media has been responsive to the grievance, but we are now at a point where we need a payment schedule in writing. For a freelancer to have to struggle to pay rent because Ebony owes is ridiculous.
Here are some of the stories told on #EbonyOwes:
“Why Isn’t ‘Ebony’ Paying Its Black Writers?” https://t.co/gOrd6WLrGN Heh I almost wrote about this a couple of years ago. I'm still owed.— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) April 25, 2017
I don't know about the race angle, but I know about Ebony failing to pay writers. The magazine owes me $1,200. https://t.co/87QVJWnSyW— Eric Deggans at NPR (@Deggans) April 25, 2017