Last year, veteran lesbian journalist Karen Ocamb was laid off from her job as a news editor at Frontiers magazine, a publication she’d been writing for since the late ’80s.
The 67-year-old believes the decision was made unfairly, and now she’s suing her former employer for age discrimination.
Ocamb has good reason to suspect that her firing may have been unjust. Soon after she was let go, Bobby Blair, the CEO of Frontiers magazine’s parent company, Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, told PressPassQ, “Unfortunately, Karen fell where we realized we were moving toward a digital and Millennial audience, and we wanted to give the generation of Millennials a real shot at creating out content.”
Last week Ocamb explained in a column for the Los Angeles Blade that despite her decades of hard work, dedication to the LGBT community, and hard-earned reputation as a journalist, she had at times also had to put up with a “hostile working environment” where she was “expected to shrug off antics and comments and endure sneers when [she] complained.”
She also says that even though she was devastated and embarrassed, she initially tried to make peace with losing her job and respond graciously. Before reading Blair’s comments about millennials, she had even told PressPassQ, “I see my being laid off as a purely financial business decision, no matter what direction the new owners may choose.”
But then something she witnessed on the floor of the U.S. Senate made her realize she shouldn’t stand down this time.
Watching Senator Elizabeth Warren be silenced while reading a letter by Coretta Scott King criticizing Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, Ocamb was struck by McConnell’s now-infamous statement: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
“That was a gut-check,” Ocamb explains. “I realized I had silenced myself to be ’nice,’ to be ’fair,’ to be ’brave’—all the learned traits growing up female in a military family.”
“But Elizabeth Warren persisted,” she continues. “Why should I die inside to avoid being called a ’nasty woman’ by the bosses at Frontiers? Indeed, if I didn’t file my discrimination lawsuit, I would be complicit in their effort to erase me… Nevertheless, I, too, persist.”
The Los Angeles Blade, a newly-launched sister publication of the Washington Blade, recently hired Ocamb as a senior contributing writer.
In October, Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, which also owns FunMaps, Next magazine, and Guy magazine, among others, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and suspended the publication of Frontiers.