AFROPUNK founding editor-in-chief quits company, citing “lies, gaslighting, exploitation”
During the AFROPUNK Brooklyn Festivallast week, a Black couple was thrown out of a VIP area for wearing a shirt that stated, “Afropunk sold out for white consumption.” Today, Afropunk’s editor-in-chief, Lou Constant-Desportes, lended credence to the couple’s controversial observation when he resigned over claims the company utilizes “performative activism” and mistreats of employees.Erika Hart and their partner were escorted out of a VIP section after being invited in to do an interview. In a series of tweets, Hart explained, “My partner and I were escorted out of backstage by two large security guards because his shirt reads “Afropunk sold out for white consumption.”
Hart continues, “At an event that claims to be punk, a stand against racism and resistance to kick us out of a space because the owner and his followers were butthurt is the complete opposite of why we come #Afropunk.”
At an event that claims to be punk, a stand against racism and resistance to kick us out of a space because the owner and his followers were butt hurt is the complete opposite of why we come #Afropunk
— Ericka Hart (@iHartEricka) August 27, 2018
AFROPUNK has since released a statement apologizing that the couple “(felt) offended” and stating that it will stay true to its mission of uplifting the Black community.
But Earlier today, AFROPUNK’s editor-in-chief, Lou Constant-Desportes, resigned, citing the company’s hypocrisy and ways it mistreats and gaslights employees.
In a Facebook post, Constant-Desportes states, “I have experienced and witnessed so many lies, gaslighting, disrespect, victim-blaming, exploitation, not to mention overworked, undervalued and underpaid staff being kept in precarious situations, that my only consolation was producing editorial work that could somewhat be independent and serve the community.”
Constant-Desportes also claims that company pressured him to sign a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for “hush money.” Read his full statement below:
Full disclosure: BYP Managing Editor Hari Ziyad is a former employee of AFROPUNK