CLOSE
2020 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon - Inside

Source: Rich Polk / Getty

CEO of ESSENCE Communications Richelieu Dennis has stepped down from his position amidst allegations of sexual misconduct.

On Wednesday (Jun 30) the iconic publication released a statement revealing that Dennis has reportedly “stepped down” as CEO while the magazine conducts its independent internal investigation over the claims written in an anonymous essay posted over the weekend, adding that Caroline Wanga will be acting as interim CEO while they undergo the process.

It is of critical importance to us that there is no doubt or question about who we are, what we represent, and what we believe in,” the statement said. “Yesterday, in step one, we addressed the accusations made in an anonymous blog post, as well as our ongoing transition in rebuilding the business. Today, in step two, we are addressing more of the action we are taking to further ensure that ESSENCE is the safe haven that we all expect.”

As previously reported, a blog post titled, The Truth About Essence, went viral over the weekend as the anonymous women writers blogged about their painful experiences working at the magazine. In it, they requested the resignation of several key senior staff members. In response to the resignation, the writer–who is simply known as “Black Female Anonymous”– took to Twitter to acknowledge the swift action before noting that there is still more to be done to meet their demands, including the firings of Michelle Ebanks, Joy Collins Profet, and MoAna Luu, who the authors alleged played a major role in intimidating Black women employees along with creating a hostile and non-productive work environment.

Black Female Anonymous confirms receipt of the removal of Richelieu Dennis as CEO of Essence Communications, @essence on day 2. Now here is what we need from you, Caroline Wanga @wangawoman as ‘interim’ CEO of Essence by day 5. #TakeBackEssence #ProtectBlackWomen

Essence Communications released a statement on Monday (Jun 29) denouncing the allegations as baseless. However, the following day, they released another statement that Dennis will be stepping down as CEO, and that they have committed to an independent review of their business practices.

“Out of an abundance of caution and an unwavering commitment to transparency, ESSENCE is in the process of hiring law firms and other independent external experts to assess and review the company’s policies and practices and conduct comprehensive employee interviews, as well as independently review any harassment, discrimination, retaliation or other behaviors or issues that may adversely impact workplace culture,” the statement continued. “To further foster the transparency we practice and value as well as to provide the necessary confidence to our employees and community that the process will be conducted in a fair and independent fashion, we shared with our staff earlier today that Caroline Wanga, who joined ESSENCE on June 29 as its new Chief Growth Officer, will step in as interim CEO of Essence Communications, Inc. to work with team leads across the organization and run day-to-day operations, as well as oversee the independent review process. ”

Read the full statement from ESSENCE below.

STATEMENT FROM ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC 

ESSENCE reiterates its commitment to Black women, our communities, and our employees. That commitment has been continually evidenced not just by our words, but by our actions fighting for, celebrating and investing in our community and each other over decades. 

ESSENCE is grateful and proud that efforts we have supported and amplified to protect Black women and promote women’s rights have opened up more opportunities for more of our voices to be heard and for more changes to be made. We take our role in advancing these efforts internally and externally very seriously. 

It is of critical importance to us that there is no doubt or question about who we are, what we represent, and what we believe in. 

Yesterday, in step one, we addressed the accusations made in an anonymous blog post, as well as our ongoing transition in rebuilding the business. Today, in step two, we are addressing more of the action we are taking to further ensure that ESSENCE is the safe haven that we all expect. Out of an abundance of caution and an unwavering commitment to transparency, ESSENCE is in the process of hiring law firms and other independent external experts to assess and review the company’s policies and practices and conduct comprehensive employee interviews, as well as independently review any harassment, discrimination, retaliation or other behaviors or issues that may adversely impact workplace culture. 

To further foster the transparency we practice and value as well as to provide the necessary confidence to our employees and community that the process will be conducted in a fair and independent fashion, we shared with our staff earlier today that Caroline Wanga, who joined ESSENCE on June 29 as its new Chief Growth Officer, will step in as interim CEO of Essence Communications, Inc. to work with team leads across the organization and run day-to-day operations, as well as oversee the independent review process. 

At ESSENCE, we remain committed to fostering a safe, transparent, and respectful workspace for everyone. Our decision to commission an independent review is to ensure the ongoing trust of our communities and employees. The findings will help guide us as we continue to stand strong in our work to create the healthiest workplace possible. #BlackWomenRiseTogether 

Richelieu Dennis Steps Down As CEO of ESSENCE Amidst Investigation  was originally published on hiphopwired.com

Also On iPower 92.1/104.1 FM:
2019 Radio One Toy Drive Distribution [PHOTOS]
82 photos