Tatsha Robertson, 48, was the only Black senior editor People magazine has ever had. Following her being laid off in May, Robertson filed a lawsuit claiming she was discriminated against by her boss and that her time at the magazine was fraught with racial tension.
People is “a discriminatory organization run entirely by white people who intentionally focus the magazine on stories involving white people and white celebrities,” Tatsha Robertson’s said in her suit.
She says only five of the mag’s 110 employees were black, and that now-former executive editor Betsy Gleick treated her like a second class-citizen when she came to the magazine from another Time Inc. publication, Essence, in 2010.
“You need to talk like everyone else here. You’re not at Essence anymore,” Gleick is quoted in the suit as saying.
She says Gleick left her out of important meetings, and denigrated her attempts to do more stories on black people. Robertson said when she pitched a story about an African-American model who’d been killed, Gleick told her the victim looked like a “slut” and the magazine wasn’t interested.
“You know the rule — white suburban women in distress,” she said, according to the suit. She also allegedly said the magazine was only interested in stories involving “white, middle-class suburbia.”
Gleick, 51, followed Robertson out the door in June.
She did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
A spokesperson for People said, “People declines to comment.” Read more.
Robertson also claimed in her lawsuit that when the magazine put Trayvon Martin on its cover, her boss was “completely obsessed with attempting to unearth any potential negative fact about him before doing so…Ms. Gleick repeatedly questioned whether he was a ‘good kid,’ yet never made efforts to vet white victims of crime.”