Tatsha Robertson was the first and only black person to be hired on as a senior editor at People, and according to her, she was one of the few black people who worked for the publication in general (she says five out of 110 were black…). Because of this, Robertson said that she often dealt with racist remarks from her employers and was treated poorly by former Executive Editor Betsy Gleick. Despite the fact that both Robertson and Gleick were fired in June, the former senior editor is suing her and the magazine for alleged discrimination.
Robertson previously worked as Deputy Editor at Essence, but in 2010, she was offered the opportunity to take her talents to People. But when she got there, according to the New York Daily News, who has viewed the suit, she was talked to crazy on more than one occasion. She claims that Gleick told her, “You need to talk like everyone else here. You’re not at Essence anymore.” It’s unclear if that comment was in reference to Robertson’s writing style or the way she verbally communicated, but either way…that’s jacked up.
Robertson also says that she was met with a great deal of opposition when she would try and pitch more pieces on black people. She claims that the magazine only wanted to focus, outside of celebrities, on stories that had to do with “white, middle-class suburbia.” When the magazine put Trayvon Martin on the cover in 2012, she says doing so was like pulling teeth.
“Ms. Gleick was completely obsessed with attempting to unearth any potential negative fact about him before doing so. Ms. Gleick repeatedly questioned whether he was a ‘good kid,’ yet never made efforts to vet white victims of crime.”
While Robertson had major issues with Gleick, she says the magazine as a whole is bias. She pointed out in legal papers for the suit that only two covers out of 60 featured black faces front and center last year, and only 14 out of 265 have featured a black person/star on the cover since she joined the magazine.
She is looking to obtain an unspecified amount of money from the magazine, Time Inc. and Betsy Gleick.
I don’t have the lowdown on who is racist and who isn’t, but I assumed it was common knowledge that a lot of popular mainstream magazines aren’t trying to feature many black people and their stories, especially not on the cover. Hell, when Nelson Mandela died he was only given a small picture in the corner of the cover…
But what do you think about her suit? Will she come out on top?