A Public Letter Calling For Direct Action At Remezcla
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On June 25, Jezebel published an article titled “'He Broke Me’: Inside the Toxic Workplace at the Groundbreaking Latinx Culture Site Remezcla.” In it, the abusive and inappropriate behavior, exploitative and unhealthy working conditions, and underlying sexism and racism that has permeated at the publication is laid out in disturbing detail.
Per the story—in which 12 former employees and contributors spoke anonymously and site co-founder, Nuria Net, as well as prospective employee, journalist Alex Zaragoza, spoke on the record—the source of the toxicity at Remezcla is CEO Andrew Herrera. From verbal and psychological abuse, to inappropriate comments towards women employees, to exploitation of his workforce (mostly young women), to the erasure of Net and Claire Frisbie as founders of Remezcla, Herrera built an environment where misogyny and unethical labor practices have run rampant for the years he’s been involved with Remezcla.
However, this pattern was also enabled and carried out by former music editor and current executive editor Eduardo Cepeda. Many former employees have come forward publicly and privately on the abuse they faced from both Herrera and Cepeda, causing them physical illness, serious mental health struggles, and fears of professional retaliation.
That this behavior was directed at mostly women speaks of a larger insidious Boys Club at Remezcla.
Per at least 10 accounts from former colleagues and evidence shared, Cepeda routinely put the full burden of his personal workload on part-time staffers, interns, and other women staffers. He neglected his editing duties on a regular basis, performed no fact checking nor even a basic copy edit, leaving contributors and staff writers of Remezcla vulnerable to lawsuits and with little investment or guidance in their work. Cepeda routinely gaslit women employees and contributors, created an atmosphere of competition and manipulation, and conspired with Herrera to publicly shame women employees in meetings and elsewhere. While Herrera is the main perpetrator of abuse over the course of years, Cepeda is complicit and has actively undermined women during his time at Remezcla.
While Cepeda has attempted to distance himself from the accusations of wrongdoing at Remezcla—as well as complaints of inappropriate sexual advancements from a woman outside of the company who he approached in a professional capacity—Herrera has made no public statement and neither has the publication as a whole. As a result of the allegations, multiple freelancers have now chosen to boycott the publication. Many others are likely to follow. Our goal is not for Remezcla to lose its many talented writers and editors; what we want is a safe and supportive space for employees and contributors so they can continue doing their work, and to see those who have caused harm held accountable.
It’s evident that Remezcla has a serious toxicity problem from its male leaders.
Not only did Herrera and Cepeda fail their colleagues, but they failed the Latinx community. By presenting as an outwardly progressive media company while internally exploiting and abusing workers, and by leading workers to believe they’d be supported among their own people only to mistreat them, they have impacted the work and careers of many Latinx journalists, who are widely underrepresented in journalism.
Their failings and their silence make it clear they are not capable of fixing the issues plaguing Remezcla.
We are calling for the resignation or removal of Andrew Herrera as CEO of Remezcla.
We are calling for the resignation or removal of Eduardo Cepeda as executive editor of Remezcla.
We strongly urge advertisers and investors to take steps to rectify the situation ongoing at Remezcla by using their economic power to stand with us and demand better leadership.
We are calling for financial investors and leadership to recruit a more capable CEO who is qualified to lead the newsroom and business department in a manner that is ethical, and who can hire a new executive editor and/or editor in chief who can handle the duties the position entails.
We are calling for current and former employees and contributors to be released from their NDAs and separation agreements so as to empower honest conversations pertaining to the issues at Remezcla and ways they can be rectified.
We are calling for an internal audit of duties performed by current staffers and an updating of job descriptions, as well as salaries to be reevaluated based on the work they’re actually performing.
We are calling for clear and timely payment for freelancers and contributors who provide Remezcla with the majority of their coverage.
We are calling for funds to be set aside for investing in employees, women and non-binary employees in particular, so they can participate in skill-building, leadership, and other professional development courses.
We are calling for change.
As Jezebel notes, Remezcla is a groundbreaking space that provided Latinx youth around the globe a nuanced representation of their culture and interests. Remezcla is where talented Latinx writers and editors come to see and share a reflection of themselves; it’s where the many identities we as a culture encompass can be explored and celebrated, and where writers and editors can confront the prejudices within the culture so as to affect change and build learning. The writers and editors who have given their time and talents to the growth of the website did so in spite of brutal conditions, and their service needs to be fully recognized.
We still believe in Remezcla; we want it to thrive and continue to be a space for stories that matter to our people. We deserve better.
Please stand with the current and former Remezcla contributors and Latinx media professionals behind this letter by signing this petition and urging direct action at Remezcla.
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