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AOL Fires Moviefone Editor Who Offered Fired Freelancers Chance to Work for Free

Earlier today we reported that freelancers at AOL’s Moviefone/Cinematical were fired, and then, sweetly, offered the chance to work for free.

Shortly afterwards, we received a follow-up in which Patricia Chui, Editor-in-Chief of Moviefone, issued an apology of sorts to freelancers, where she attempted to clarify that “we have not been asking freelancers (i.e., any of you) to become unpaid bloggers.” (Except, of course, that she had.)

Now, Kara Swisher reports that today, sources said that Chui was fired by John Montorio, the HuffPo Media Group’s culture, entertainment, and lifestyle editor.

That was fast! But considering all of the bad publicity HuffPo has gotten for unpaid bloggers, and its effort to refashion itself as an outlet based on traditional journalism, Chui’s email was incredibly ill-advised.

Apparently it was not the first time Chui had made a serious gaffe.

Swisher also writes that a few weeks ago, Chui defended a marketing employee who sent an email to TechCrunch (which AOL bought) asking them to soften a review, a move that basically made the site seem like a studio pawn, rather than a unit of the sort of scrappy independent reporters that Arianna Huffington wants in the new order.

Also, neither Chui’s defense to TechCrunch nor the letter to freelancers was cleared with the higher-ups.

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