On Wednesday, AllThingsD reported that Moviefone Editor-in-Chief Patricia Chui was fired from AOL’s Huffington Post Media Group after sending out an ill-received memo to fired freelancers offering them the chance to continue their work—for free. AOL is currently in the process of eliminating freelancers in an attempt to rely more on full-time writers.
In the memo, Chui wrote, “You will be invited to contribute as part of our non-paid blogger system; and though I know that for many of you this will not be an option financially, I strongly encourage you to consider it if you’d like to keep writing for us, because we value all of your voices and input.”
According to AllThingsD, sources have also suggested Chui’s termination might be due in part to a recent bout of bad press from the AOL-owned blog TechCrunch, after the release of an e-mail in which a Moviefone employee told TechCrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis that her review of the film Source Code had been construed as “a little snarky” by the movie’s studio and that the studio had asked if the writer could “tone it down.”
The e-mail prompted outrage from the TechCrunch crew, who claimed that the employee "asked us to change our post,” but Chui defended the employee on her own blog and stated: “We never told TechCrunch to change the post in any way ... it is in our best interests to stay on good terms with [movie studios] … It does not mean that we would ever force a writer or an editor to edit their work for the sake of a studio—or anyone else.”