Essence is parting ways with its managing editor after some right-wing updates appeared on his Facebook page.
The publication announced last week that Michael Bullerdick has been reassigned to a different division in the company. Considering his race and gender — Michael is a White male — his position with the Black women’s magazine raised some eyebrows when he was brought onto the Essence staff last July.
But it seems that some questionable content on his Facebook page proved to be his downfall. A Journal-Isms reader grabbed screenshots of conservative posts from his wall. On April 10, he posted a picture of a caricature of Rev. Al Sharpton that labeled him an "MSNBC Race Pimp." He also posted an article titled "The Frequent Bomber Program" about 1960s radical Bill Ayers with the update, "Obama’s mentor and friend."
"Essence readers would be shocked to find that Bullerdick, who under the prodding of Time Inc became the first white male editor at the magazine last year, openly espouses extremist Right-wing views that run counter to what Essence has historically stood for," wrote the reader in an email to Journal-isms.
As managing editor of Essence, Michael stated on LinkedIn that it’s part of his responsibility to "edit stories for tone and style." His boss, Essence Editor in Chief Constance C.R. White, insisted that he does not have a hand in the editorial process. “Michael is responsible for production and operational workflow. He has no involvement in editorial content," she said when he was hired last summer.
She stood by those claims in a statement released Friday. “As editor-in-chief, I’m responsible for all editorial content for Essence. I hired Michael to manage the production schedule of Essence," she told Journal-Isms. "As head of production, he does not attend editorial idea meetings, nor does he get involved in the editorial direction of the magazine.”
Michael’s new position and division have not been reported, and there is no word yet on his replacement for the managing editor position.