Tatsha Robertson (pictured), the only African American senior editor at People magazine, was fired back in May. Now, in a recently filed lawsuit, the journalist is claiming that the long-established, New York City-based Time Inc. brand engaged in on-the-job discrimination and general racial bias towards Blacks, reports the New York Daily News.
According to Robertson, out of the 110 employees at the magazine, a mere five are Black. When Robertson jumped from the Time Inc. publication, ESSENCE, the monthly magazine for Black woman, to People back in 2010, she alleges in the suit that she was subjected to subpar treatment from the magazine’s then executive editor, Betsy Gleick.
“You need to talk like everyone else here. You’re not at Essence anymore,” Gleick is quoted in the suit as saying.
The suit also alleges that Gleick purposely omitted Robertson from crucial staff meetings and blocked her from reporting on African American centered stories. When Robertson pitched a story about a Black model who had been murdered, she alleges that Gleick derogatorily referred to the woman as looking like a “slut” and pointedly informed her there was no interest. “You know the rule — White suburban women in distress,” she said, according to the suit.
The 48-year-old writer also claims Gleich was hell-bent on digging up any negative fact she could get her hands on with regards to Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was brutally gunned down by pseudo-security guard George Zimmerman back in 2012.
Gleick exited the magazine in June and repeated attempts by the New York Daily News at contacting her for a comment resulted in unreturned calls.
As far as People placing African Americans on their cover, according to Robertson’s suit, “In total since 2010, only 14 out of 265 covers have been focused on African-American individuals.” And since 1990, “only three individuals selected as the ‘Most Beautiful Person’ have been Black, out of 25 selections.”
Since Robertson’s departure, according to the suit, “One can only imagine that it will be ‘business as usual’ at People Magazine going forward — more White people on covers, more stories about white people, and a completely dismissive attitude towards African-American employees.”
The former editor is seeking an unspecified amount of monies from People, Time Inc. and her former supervisor, Gleick.