Ebony Magazine: Unpaid Writers Claim #EbonyOwes Them Money

Ebony Magazine appears to have a PR disaster on their hands with the viral Twitter hashtag known as #EbonyOwes. Several writers are using the #EbonyOwes hashtag to proclaim that they have not been paid by Ebony after their writing was published in the magazine. Or, some of the Ebony freelance writers claim that it took a long time to get paid for published work.

Roland Martin brought attention to the #EbonyOwes cause by highlighting various writers who claim they have not been paid by Ebony.

Those sharing the article titled “Why Isn’t Ebony Paying Its Black Writers?” from the Establishment are adding their voices to the controversy.

Ebony Magazine’s Alleged Unpaid Writers

As reported by Love B. Scott, Ebony eventually released the following statement about the controversy. In the statement, Ebony claimed that the publication places value on the work of their writers. The publication responded to the #EbonyOwes controversy by reiterating how much their unique Ebony freelance writers are an important part of their success.

Ebony magazine values the work of our freelancers and writers. We understand their concerns and we know that their unique talent and dedication to telling our stories have been an integral part of our success. As a part of our strategic growth plan, EBONY Media is working diligently to streamline and improve efficiencies throughout our operations and we will honor our commitment to our partners.”

People on Twitter are using the comments section to reply to such articles as those posted above, with folks also ranting that they haven’t received their Ebony subscriptions in a timely manner. With reports of controversy over Ebony allegedly not paying writers going viral, Twitter users have claimed that payments from Ebony may have begun.

“Yeh..Baby weee Live! Word is some reparations have begun. Keep em coming. Here’s an update on

Other folks have used the distressing situation for writers allegedly happening at Ebony to highlight the publications that do pay their writers on time.

“#EbonyOwes If you know freelancers who write about black political & social issues. We pay on time, for details kamau@atlantablackstar.com,” wrote.

Ebony continues to receive backlash as reports about payments to freelance writers “slipping through the cracks” make the rounds, while the #EbonyOwes hashtag continues to go viral on social media.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Ebony is an iconic magazine that indeed pays writers, but that some writers’ payments were delayed when Michael Gibson’s CVG Group bought Ebony Media. Gibson blamed the four months that his group took to purchase Ebony as part of the reason for the lag in payments to writers.

“The timing of (the purchase) didn’t allow for us to do our thorough due diligence we typically do.”

In the time period following the purchase, certain payments to freelance writers for Ebony were missed. With a reported large payment going out this week to writers, Gibson declined to tell the publication how much writers were owed. Some writers are taking to social media to post the amounts they claim Ebony owes them. Other comments about the #EbonyOwes hashtag can be read below.

“I don’t think it’s a thing. Its an overall respect your contractors/freelancers thing. but so do others.”

“Shout out to for hopping on this. Who knew ppl cared this much about freelancers? It’s beautiful.

“Hey maybe sell a cover ad to help pay the bills like some other pubs. I hear is looking for some help. .”

“Requiring writers to beg for compensation puts the blame on the artists.

[Featured Image by Joshua Lott/Getty Images]