Politically Offensive Facebook Posts Get Essence Editor Booted
Matt | On 24, Apr 2012
African-American media staple, Essence, had to give the boot to one of its editors, Michael Bullerdick, for some racially and politically-controversial posts he made on his private Facebook page.
Bullerdick was launched into the spotlight in 2011 when he took the editorial position at the magazine, much to the chagrin of some in the black community. Observers were confused as to why a white man would be hired to lead the editorial content of a publication priding itself on telling the experience of black women.
People had to eventually let Bullerdick settle into his role with the magazine or face reverse racism claims, since Bullerdick is white. While his race became less of an issue, his political views soon took center stage. Eventually, someone copied Bullerdick’s personal Facebook page and forwarded it to his editor, Constance White.
What they found on his page included a parody photo of Al Sharpton, negative rhetoric against President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. He also had postings in support of Andrew Breitbart, the late blogger responsible for lots of conservative political mud-slinging and the Shirley Sherrod controversy of 2010.
In my opinion, financial powerhouse Dave Ramsey said it best in his 2011 New York Times bestseller, “Entreleadership.” When hiring for a position in an organization, management and HR have to do the hard work of finding the right candidate. Make sure that person matches not only the team’s values, but those of the customers. Candidates need to be interviewed several times and management/team members should see the person in several different settings.
This does NOT mean that a white person was ill-qualified for the Essence editorial position. A staunch black Republican hired into the same role would have agreed with at least some of what Bullerdick posted. The same few keystrokes would have landed them in similar hot water.
It boils down to this. Essence could have (at least somewhat) easily avoided this predicament had they properly done their homework.
Thanks to Crystal for the heads-up on the story!