SOHH.com has exclusively obtained documents filed by former Source Magazine Editor-In-Chief Kim Osorio and former Vice President of Marketing Michelle Joyce alleging gender discrimination against the publication's owners -- just days after Benzino announced his resignation.
Today, Osorio and Joyce filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission , charging Source co-owners David Mays, who serves as Chief Executive Officer, and Raymond "Benzino" Scott, the Chief Brand Executive, of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and unlawful retaliation against women working for the company. According to their charges, female employees at The Source were routinely discriminated against in favor of male employees, especially in regards to hiring new personnel, promotions, compensations, benefits, working hours and discipline.
The complaint also accuses Benzino of taking control of The Source away from Mays and putting handfuls of his boys from Boston on the payroll. The men in question reportedly did not execute meaningful work and did not abide by the same rules, policies and procedures that all women employees were obligated to follow. Osorio and Joyce also charge that Scott and Mays fired or forced many "competent, dedicated and hardworking" female employees out of the publication and filled their positions with men.
The case states that Mays would yell and curse at The Source's female executives, but wouldn't treat male employees the same way. In other instances, Scott and Mays allowed a male employee to use profanities while addressing Osorio, degrading her and physically threatening her without being disciplined for his actions, the suit says. According to the suit, the sexual harassment at the Source was so rampant that a former Managing Editor often hid in her office and avoided walking through the office's corridors to escape it. Lastly, the suit states that The Source orchestrated a gender-motivated smear campaign against Hot 97 radio personality/rapper Angie Martinez.
"After dedicating five years to the Source, I could no longer endure the blatant gender discrimination and harassment so I spoke up. But it only hurt the situation, because I was fired shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, discrimination and/or harassment in the workplace is very common. And now, I must speak out for all women who have been victims of this same type of treatment," Osorio said.
Joyce added, "I chose to take a stand for women of the Hip-Hop generation and for all women who quietly endure such treatment for fear of retaliation and for those women who have suffered in silence and quietly surrendered."
Osorio and Joyce both complained to Source management of discriminatory treatment targeting women at The Source. However, Scott and Mays opted to not resolve the issues, but instead fired them despite their solid work performance. Osorio contends that she was terminated shortly after refusing to grant Scott and Mays' request that she remove an email she sent to Human Resources about the mag's shady practices.
Benzino announced his resignation from The Source this past weekend, citing the publication's feud with Eminem, politics and future business ventures for his departure. Initially, he announced plans to sell his stock and launch a new publication to reflect his ideas. However, insiders telll SOHH.com that Zino's resignation was prompted by a meeting he had days prior with lawyers for Osorio and Joyce in which they discussed their planned a lawsuit. Since then, reports from The Source's press conference last week say that Benzino declared he'd changed his mind and won't be stepping down.
Indeed, several Source insiders have told SOHH.com that the step down was another publicity stunt used by Zino and Mays in the past to garner media attention and to regain lost advertising revenue. Two years ago, Source staffers were allegedly coerced into "leaking' information to the press about Benzino stepping down as a way to ease advertisers' fears of being associated with a controversial brand.
Finally, in related news, The Source's latest issue is the first in a series of exclusive cover stories and the mag is gearing up to debut its all-new millennium version starting with the August 2005 issue. The issue will feature a makeover of the mag's content, including the first logo change in over 14 years. The self-proclaimed Hip-Hop bible is also launching The Source 5.0, a DVD/CD-Rom disc that puts the magazine's content into an interactive experience.