Black-owned media giant Essence Communications, which publishes Essence magazine, has responded to allegations made by an anonymous group of women that it created a toxic work culture for employees with the announcement of an independent review and a new interim CEO.
In a post on Medium titled “The Truth About Essence” published on Sunday, the women—under the name #BlackFemaleAnonymous—allege that “the once exalted media brand dedicated to Black women has been hijacked by cultural and corporate greed and an unhinged abuse of power.”
“The company’s longstanding pattern of gross mistreatment and abuse of its Black female employees is the biggest open secret in the media business,” the post reads.
Caroline Wanga, Interim CEO of Essence Communications (Image: Business Wire)
That was followed by a press statement late Tuesday announcing that Essence is hiring law firms and independent external experts, “out of an abundance of caution and an unwavering commitment to transparency,” to review the company’s polices and practices and to review any issues that may adversely affect its culture.
It also announced that Caroline Wanga, who was recently hired as the Chief Growth Officer after serving as Target’s Chief Culture, Diversity Inclusion Officer, will step in as interim CEO of Essence Communications and oversee the independent review process.