Mag Bag: Former Editor In Chief At Hip Hop Mag Wins Damages In Lawsuit

A former editor in chief at the Source won $15.5 million in damages from the magazine in her lawsuit for wrongful termination, the New York Post reported Wednesday. The magazine's legal defeat came after years of rumors alleging millions of dollars of fraud including unreported travel and jewelry purchases, unsound editorial practices forced on staffers by threats from rap industry insiders, and a high-profile feud with multi-platinum rapper Eminem.

Kimberly Osorio was fired in March 2005 after filing a gender discrimination complaint against President Raymond "Benzino" Scott and CEO Dave Mays, who founded the "hip-hop bible" as a newsletter in 1988 while Mays was a student at Harvard. Both men were fired in 2006. Although the federal jury decided in Osorio's favor on the wrongful termination charge, they dismissed a related sexual harassment charge. Michelle Joyce, a former marketing executive, had joined Osorio in alleging sexual harrassment at the publication.

Over the course of the two-week lawsuit, Osorio's legal team detailed a tense workplace characterized by sexual advances and intimidation. Beyond verbal abuse, male employees allegedly threatened female employees with physical violence. Sexual innuendo was the norm. Insiders say these complaints aren't surprising, given hip-hop's famously macho (or simply misogynist) culture. But as the industry continues to grow, it has increasingly adopted standard rules of corporate governance--meaning the old ways may have to change.

Indeed, Osorio's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, told The Daily News: "This verdict shows that all women must be treated with dignity and respect, no matter what industry they work in." For her part, Osorio told the News she's contemplating a tell-all memoir exposing the seamier side of hip-hop journalism: "I haven't had the chance to seal everything up and think of my next move, but there's a possibility of a book." Meanwhile, an attorney for the magazine, Mercedes Colwin, said: "We are going to seek a new trial, and we are going to seek a reduction of the award."

Dan Bova Named EIC of Stuff

Dennis Publishing U.S. announced Thursday that Dan Bova will assume editorial leadership of Stuff magazine, replacing former Editor in Chief Jimmy Jellinek, who took over at Dennis' flagship mag Maxim in September. Bova joined the mag as a senior features editor in 2000, left briefly in 2003 to be a segment producer on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," then returned to Stuff as deputy editor in 2003. He was promoted to executive editor in 2005. Bova has also worked at Spy, and freelanced for Details, Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Glamour, and Redbook.

In an official statement Stephen Colvin, president and CEO of Dennis Publishing U.S., said: "Since joining Stuff Dan has proven to be an essential and well-respected member of the editorial staff which he'll now have the opportunity to lead. His energy and drive are as contagious as his wit. I'm looking forward to taking Stuff to new heights with him at the helm."

Maxim to Open Steakhouses

In another piece of manly branded news, Dennis Publishing's Maxim announced Wednesday that it will open a chain of Maxim-branded steakhouses, Maxim Prime, in partnership with restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and his company, China Grill Management. The first restaurant in the chain should open in spring 2007, with 14 more restaurants scheduled to open in the following five years. Chodorow, whose signature restaurants include China Grill, Asia de Cuba, Social Miami at Sagamore, Social Hollywood and Ono at Hotel Gansevoort, was quoted in an official statement: "Maxim Prime will be cool, modern and sophisticated, taking a non-traditional approach and will appeal to both men and women."

Premiere Publishing to Launch MarketVoice

The publisher of Trump Magazine and Poker Life Magazine is launching a new magazine, MarketVoice, focusing on companies and CEOs in the financial sphere. The new magazine will include interviews with business leaders, coverage of new companies, and business lifestyles.

MPA Schedules 3rd Digital Conference for February 27th

The third conference on digital platforms for consumer magazines will be held on February 27th at the Graduate Center Auditorium of the City University of New York. The conference will include the MPA's first-ever magazine digital awards, including best video, best mobile program, and best online community. The full list of categories and calls to entry will go out in November, along with a list of conference speakers and panels.

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