Woke NY Media Should Start Treating Black Women Employees Like Their Lives Matter
ABC just placed senior executive Barbara Fedida on "administrative leave" after a deeply sourced Huffington Post report revealed a history of “insensitive" (i.e. racist) comments. The network put Fedida in corporate time-out while it investigates her grossness, and there appears to be a lot.
In 2018, during contract negotiations with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts, who is black, Fedida thought the network paid one of its biggest stars more than enough money already. Fedida reportedly told colleagues in a meeting that it wasn't like ABC had asked Roberts to “pick cotton." This wasn't just crazy racist. It fundamentally misunderstands plantation economics. Enslaved people weren't paid anything to pick cotton. Fedida presumably wanted to treat Roberts like a sharecropper, where she's practically the property of the network but on the plus side, she gets to keep her children.
Fedida was the subject of more than a dozen human resources investigations already. It was like an Agatha Christie novel set in the Groundhog Day universe, where the killer keeps getting caught and released after “executive coaching." Executive coaches are about as effective as psychics, who at least realize they're frauds. ABC News hired one for Fedida in 2016 and two years later, she's still dropping racist remarks in public like she's out of her cotton-picking mind.
'Good Morning America' Anchor Robin Roberts shares an inspiring message to the Class of 2020 www.youtube.com
Fedida's official title was senior vice president, talent and business. Laughably but perhaps not surprisingly, she was charged with overseeing ABC's diversity and inclusion efforts. Considering she didn't fire herself, it's hard to see how she took those duties seriously. She had a non-existent relationship with the National Association of Black Journalists and reportedly actively sabotaged diversity initiatives. She also allegedly retaliated against black staffer Mara Schiavocampo, who kept bugging her with all this diversity stuff. Schiavocampo accused Fedida of racial discrimination in a legal claim the network settled for an undisclosed amount.
According to sources at the network, ABC has spent millions of dollars in "confidential settlements with former talent and staff" as a result of Fedida's comically bad behavior. It's probably cheaper to just ditch the racist and hire more black people, even at exorbitant cotton-picking salaries.
Despite her racist words and deeds, Fedida considers herself a "champion for increased diversity" and "talented journalists of color." She's a regular Miss Millie from The Color Purple.
Hey @Refinery29, cool blacked out homepage! But you know what real allyship looks like? Paying your Black employees… https://t.co/sQLRh8HwDS— Ashley Alese Edwards (@Ashley Alese Edwards)1591115943.0
Fedida isn't the only garbage person in the New York media world of the 21st century. Refinery29 co-founder and editor-in-chief Christene Barberich was accused of repeatedly confusing writer Ashley C. Ford with another black woman employee who was not Ashley C. Ford. Management also kept asking Ashley Elese Edwards to go on Tucker Carlson's White Nationalist Playhouse. Barberich reportedly rejected photos of black or plus size women as “off-brand" for the site. She allegedly claimed white women's faces drove more traffic. That's some really solid feminism there, ma'am.
Nikki Tucker, a former social media editor, said, "Refinery was really touted as that millennial place of inclusivity, where women are celebrated. You're not shamed for your body. It felt right up my alley. As a black woman in America, there aren't really too many spaces for me to be at a place where inclusivity is celebrated — at least, so I thought."
Barberich resigned last week and before you complain about the “Twitter mob" like a common Bari Weiss, please note that there were several HR complaints against Barberich. Nothing changed until the “woke mob" went public.
This was true of Adam Rapoport, former dude bro editor of Bon Appétit. Rachel Premack at Business Insider wrote about the “toxic" culture of racism and exclusion at the Condé Nast food magazine. People of color were treated as “second-class" to white staffers, who were paid more for similar tasks. Sohla El-Waylly, an assistant food editor and woman of color, wasn't paid at all for her video appearances, unlike her white colleagues, for reasons we're sure aren't gross violations of multiple labor laws.
Rapoport also reportedly treated his assistant -- the only black woman on staff -- worse than the the horrible bosses in Horrible Bosses. Ryan Walker-Hartshorn was asked to clean his golf clubs, teach his wife how to use Google Calendar (that could've taken weeks), and get his son's passport. Rapoport even texted her on weekends while paying her just $35,300 a year, which barely covers the rent on a park bench. She asked for a raise and
Scrooge Rapoport told her, "Well, maybe you should consider that this is not the right job for you." His wife is finally able to put her pedicure appointments on their shared calendar and this is how he shows his gratitude?
Walker-Hartshorn was also instructed to make Rapoport's coffee “like Rihanna," because he thinks he's a funny douchebag. If you're paying your assistant $18 an hour and asking her to make Starbucks runs, you should probably worry about more than the milk level of your coffee.
You’d need one before I could change it. https://t.co/LU33hqH10c— Stephen Robinson (@Stephen Robinson)1592114994.0
This is all terrible, and as you can see, it impacts black women at every level. This is why people like Larry Kudlow deserve nothing less than our fiercest contempt when they claim there's no such thing as systemic racism in America. It doesn't just exist. It's everywhere.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."