"Essence" Fires White Managing Editor for Racist Facebook Slurs

Last year when black womens' magazine Essence hired Michael Bullerdick, a white male, as its managing editor, it was lambasted for diverting from its original vision. In 2010, it had been the target of reader anger for hiring a white fashion director—a very controversial move for a magazine celebrating black beauty, which provoked an impassioned response from former staffer Michaela Angela Davis. So Bullerdick's employment seemed doubly misguided—and it turns out the disdain from readers was right on point. He was fired after posting racist depictions of Al Sharpton to his facebook and recommending a video by James O'Keefe, among other things:

"Essence readers would be shocked to find that Bullerdick, who under the prodding of Time Inc became the first white male editor at the magazine last year, openly espouses extremist Right-wing views that run counter to what Essence has historically stood for," the Journal-isms reader wrote in an email.

In one screen shot, an April 10 posting is headlined, "No Voter Fraud, Mr. Attorney General?" touting a video by James O'Keefe, the conservative activist who worked with right-wing trickster Andrew Breitbart. The same day, Bullerdick shared a photo illustration of Al Sharpton headlined, "MSNBC Race Pimp." Bullerdick also recommends material from the conservative magazine Human Events and the right-wing website townhall.com, from which Bullerdick posted "the Frequent Bomber Program," an article about 1960s radical Bill Ayers. Bullerdick wrote, "Obama's mentor and friend."

It's shocking that a thorough vetting didn't uncover this type of belief during the hiring process, but even more appalling that Bullerdick felt comfortable and empowered enough in his own position at a black women's magazine to post such racist vitriol. Read the full story here.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at April 23, 2012, 8:15am

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