On Monday, we relayed the Business Insider report that claimed AOL had fired its freelance business writers, then- because if someone is down it’s always a good idea to kick them – invited them to work for free.
Peter Goodman at AOL denied this report, but it looks like it was probably spot on, because freelancers at Moviefone/Cinematical got the same treatment. Here’s a snippet of an email sent by AOL to an ex-freelancer, which he tweeted yesterday:
That’s right. AOL values its freelancers, just not enough to pay them.
It’s a great time to be a writer!
We received a copy of a follow-up to the above email, that, according to Mario Ruiz, Senior Vice President of Media Relations of The Huffington Post Media Group, corrected “errors.” The following is from Patricia Chui, Editor-in-Chief of Moviefone:
I wanted to clarify a couple of things about the email I sent earlier today.
During the AOL / Huffington Post integration, we’ve been trying to provide our writers with as much clarity as possible, via emails and conference calls, regarding the future of freelancers at AOL. I know there are a lot of questions, and we’re doing our best to address them as best and as quickly as we can.
I especially want to clarify that we have not been asking freelancers (i.e., any of you) to become unpaid bloggers.
In no way did I mean to communicate that you were being asked to write for free, and I apologize for the misrepresentation.
As I mentioned in my email, conversations about freelancers are still ongoing. There may still be opportunities for people to write freelance for Moviefone and Cinematical, and I promise to keep updating you.
But you’re still fired! Have a nice day.