Screw You, Arianna Huffington!

So, I heard yesterday that a lawyer is suing on behalf of the some 9,000 people who produced content, largely for free, for The Huffington Post, to get some recompense subsequent to Arianna Huffington selling the site to AOL for $315 million.

Now, many would say (and many actually have) that the writers knew they were writing for free and were doing it for the exposure and shouldn’t expect any kind of payment.

Well, as much as I respect Huffington’s efforts to balance out increasingly insane conservative nonsense with somewhat less crazed ideological shouting from the leftward end of the spectrum, they do deserve something and she’s a greedy wench if she doesn’t give up some money.

Yeah, that’s right, I’m slamming a liberal. I’m not lock-step when it comes to that. I may lean left but I’m not a brain-dead zombie-like follower.

The fact is, Huffington would have had nothing to sell if not for the content produced by those writers.


She built her site on their backs, which was fine when she did it, but when she decided to cash in, they should have gotten consideration as well.

I mean, would it kill her to take $10 million or $20 million out her windfall (less than 10% of the total take) just to hand out $1,000 to $2,000 (on average) to each writer, based on how much he or she contributed?

The notion that she’s going to just walk away with the money and give no regard to those who did the bulk of the work is shameless. Simply shameless.

Not to mention an example of how shallow, self-centered and greedy people can be whether they are right-wing or left-wing (or in between).

6 Responses to “Screw You, Arianna Huffington!”

  1. April 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    that is disgraceful. shame on you ariana! shame shame! you can sleep with jordan zimmerman, who thinks writers should be happy getting paid minumium wage or less because they are not PRODUCING anything of value.

  2. April 13, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    As a writer, it’s more than a little dismaying how little value is placed on the skill anymore. Magazines, newspapers, websites, etc. would have nothing on which to base their products and draw readers for advertisers to sell to.


  3. April 28, 2011 at 4:50 am

    I guess in order for me to be on board with that… I’d have to ask myself these questions…

    1) Did they know they were writing for free? (yes)
    2) If one of the writers became incredibly rich/famous because of their column, contribution, or whatever on Huffington… would that then also entitle the owner of Huffington to recompense? (For instance, if I wrote a column on Huffington and NBC said “Hey Phil I want you to do your column on our television station/website/whatever and I’ll give you 1 billion dollars”, should Huffington get money?

    If the answer to 2 = no. Then I think there is no good reason to share the wealth. It falls into one of life’s shitty categories: It’s fair, it just sucks.

  4. May 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

    My biggest problem, Philip (and sorry for the late response, btw), is that she built up her site with the support of these people who believed in her and her mission.

    They were not paid, and therefore their writings were not traditional work-for-hire (we pay you, we own it).

    So an entire site has been sold for millions based on THEIR work, and the only person who profits is the one who essentially simply pulled material together.

    I agree that she, as the site owner, deserves the lion’s share. But to not recompense the writers under such circumstances is entirely shitty and, I would argue against you, quite unfair as well.

    Your #2 example doesn’t seem to apply here. You see, if I became famous after coming to someone’s attention through the Huffington Post, you can’t determine how much of that was directly due to the HuffPo and how much was my talent and it was simply that I was NOTICED at HuffPo. However, it is ENTIRELY clear that Arianna Huffington would have had NOTHING to sell if not for her contributors. The value was created by them, not her.

  5. 5 reviewboard
    May 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Sorry for the late response and the AN CORP on your thread Jeff. My website actually told me you responded today lol so I think the notification is a little lagged on the part of wordpress 🙂

    I’d argue that #2 is important because without HuffPost whatever entity offering the deal would never have known who I was. So while the lion’s share was certainly due me the author, a percentage should then go to HuffPost because they offered the opportunity of exposure.

    It’s a double edged sword. I think I understand it from both perspectives and if I were a writer I would feel upset, but I am a website owner and I feel like there was a significant opportunity for exposure and resume fodder that was brought to the table for the writer. After HuffPost was purchased, they might negotiate a deal to stay on with pay… even if that didn’t work out they would have _no_trouble_ finding a place to pay them (esp with HuffPost being in the news for the sale, it would result in a lot of job offers simply because of that exposure in the news).

    One thing I think we can both agree on: It would have been classy for her to share. It would have been the gracious way to do things. I personally would have not gone that route. $1000 – $1500 per person isn’t a good enough way to show appreciation. I would like to think I would take 10% or 15% of the money and put together another revenue generating news enterprise that I could then turn over to those writers (via stock/shares) and say “Thank you for all your hard work, while I signed a non-compete to get this deal done, I’ve gone ahead and funded a new organization where I have no ownership and gifted it to my former volunteers. Now you can make something of it and profit from it.”

  6. May 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Wow, your notification is even more delayed than my work emails through GoDaddy…and that’s saying something! 😉

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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April 2011

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