Tuesday, September 09, 2008
The Source of Discourse
Former Source Editor-In-Chief Kim Osorio sued the ownerz of the magazine for sexual harassment in 2005, describing a workplace where "employees often watched pornographic movies and hung pictures of females in G-strings, smoked pot and called women bitches." Supposedly, this was the environment she worked in for five years, day in and day out, until she was fired. The jury found that she wasn't a victim of sexual harassment, but they did award her $7.5 million for unlawful termination.
While she waits for that payday, the former editor has been making good use of her time. She's the executive editor at BET Interactive and she's written a book about her time at the magazine once known as hip-hop's bible, "Straight From the Source," which came out yesterday. I haven't read more that the excerpts shared on the blogs, so its hard to tell if she's accepting responsibility for the mag's failure or painting herself as the helpless minion of morally bankrupt owners David Mays and Raymond Scott.
She admits to sleeping with rappers, which was one of the charges made by Scott in a interview where he was found to have defamed her character. The former editor explained her relationships with artists in a recent interview.
“I don’t think that I did anything wrong by dating people or being involved in relationships with people. For women it always comes down to the Scarlet Letter, sexual – oh my God, it doesn’t matter what year, what millennium we’re in; we are always looked at in that sort of light.”
She goes on.
“I love the way they hold rappers on a whole different level. Are you saying that no one is allowed to date anyone in the industry? Or are you saying writers aren’t allowed to date rappers? Or are you saying writers aren’t allowed to date anyone in the industry? What is it that you’re saying?”
It's been a long time since I finished journalism school, but I'm pretty sure they still have that rule about not sexing people you interview or write about. Once your drawers come off, your objectivity is already gone. Of course, things happen when adults work together closely over a period of time and that's when you make professional adjustments. NBC's Andrea Mitchell stopped covering financial matters once she started seeing her future husband Alan Greenspan. Reporter Maria Shiver was relieved of her duties at NBC once she became the First Lady of California. But Osorio doesn't seem to think there was anything wrong with her hook-ups with rap titans Nas and 50 Cent while she was editor of one of the top-selling music magazines.
That's the kind of attitude that led to the demise of hip hop journalism on ink and paper. If you want to read the truth about hip hop in 2008, blogs are the only source.
UPDATE (9/11/08): Kim might not have got that $7.5 million after all.