Professional Troublemaker Podcast
We are demanding the immediate resignation of Richelieu Dennis, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Essence Ventures (Essence Communications, including Essence Magazine, Essence.com and Essence Festival), Michelle Ebanks, Board Member of Essence Ventures and former CEO of Essence Communications, Joy Collins Prophet, Chief Operating Officer director and Moana Luu, chief content officer. We call on AT&T, Chase Bank, Coca Cola, Ford, Procter & Gamble, Walmart and Warner Media to immediately withdraw all active and future sponsorship and media buys from Essence Communications until the company is under new management.
A Day in the Life of Sundial Brands
Over the past two years, scores of talented black women have been either wrongfully fired or forced out of the company. Richelieu Dennis wife Martha Denis is the head of human resources for the parent company (Essence Ventures), which is an obvious conflict of interest.
Management approved the layoffs of black women who had recently returned from maternity leave. Other black employees were threatened with termination while on maternity leave and were not offered timely health insurance before taking leave.
A Professional And Philanthropic Journey
Dennis attempted to get Essence employees and contractors to sign non-disclosure agreements that only shield him and his family from liability or defamation following a series of wrongful firings and other potentially defamatory business practices. When employees raised questions about the NDA, the executive management team adopted a series of intimidation tactics against employees, mostly black women.
In a company town hall during the second half of 2019, employees asked Michelle Ebanks, then CEO, about pay equity in the industry and the market. Ebanks bluntly dismissed the matter and told employees they could leave the company. Black female employees under Ebanks experienced repeated miscarriages due to severe stress and anxiety. Under Ebanks and Joy Collins Prophet, chief operating officer, employees suffered from severe anxiety, depression, evidenced by signs of extreme weight gain or loss, workforce isolation and refusal to resign. In 2019, a senior Richelieu Dennis employee reporting directly to Prophet went on stress leave only to return to Profet’s increased and tactical bullying of the workforce.