We reported on the merger of Oni Press and Lion Forge last week and things haven’t been looking good. In an interview earlier this week with SyFy, which was supposed to spin the merger in a good light, Polarity founder David Steward II and Lion Forge co-founder Carl Reed were asked about the layoffs focusing on women and people of color.
Reed: We’re not in a bubble. We have followed this, and this is really the hardest thing for us to see and hear. We can’t address it necessarily directly, but we understand this is a hard time. We didn’t part with any employees because of performance or a disagreement. This is a tough situation and hard to understand, especially without understanding our internal operations.
The narrative of our entire mission is focused on new perspectives, different voices, and expanding what comics are and who reads them. Not only are we personally comics creators, but we’re African-American comics creators. When you’re a leader in diversity and you let somebody go, and the majority of your employees are minorities and women, no matter what happens, it can be perceived in a certain way.
Steward: I think a lot of people have read into the situation the wrong way. Our intention is always to guard the best possible outcome in these scenarios. It is so sad for us to have to part ways with folks. But there are things that we have to do, unfortunately, from a business standpoint to make sure that the organization stays healthy and that we’re able to continue to keep on our mission going forward.
In order to keep their mission of diversity going forward, they had to let go of women and people of color.
Rebutting the SyFy article titled LION FORGE FOUNDERS SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THE ONI PRESS MERGER AND DIVERSITY COMMITMENT, two former Oni Press employees took to Twitter.
Former Oni Press editor Desiree Wilson opened up about not signing the NDA that she was given and additionally, other employees were given non-compete clauses so they wouldn’t ne able to work for other publishers.
Former warehouse employee Scott Sharkey too decided against signing the NDA and opened up on Twitter, posting a picture of the severance pay clause.
Letting go of everyone in the company with a disability accommodation, as well? That’s a bag of worms for another day.