Essence Ventures — the parent company of Essence Magazine and the Essence Festival of Cuture has responded to allegations of sexual harrasment, intimidation, pay inequity and a toxic work environment at the company. Earlier this week, an anonymous essay surfaced with all of the allegations.
The statement from Essence Ventures read, “We deny the accusations and refute them without reservation. Facts will always matter, and we are not afraid of the truth. The allegations and mischaracterizations throughout — whether of pay inequity, intimidation, and otherwise — are unfounded attempts to discredit our brand and assassinate personal character.”
The brand later released another statement, saying that Carolina Wanga will step in as interim CEO of the company, replacing Richlieu Dennis, the owner of the magazine. The statement read “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.”