Was anyone paid for the last issue of Plenty? Certainly not any of the five contributors FishbowlNY has spoken to in the last few days, all of whom are owed money for pieces that were published in the Dec/Jan ’08 issue, which was the last to hit newsstands, and some of whom are owed money for work that was done for the Feb/March ’09 issue that never made it to print.
It was no secret Plenty had been struggling these last few months. Rumors that the environmentally focused magazine, which launched four years ago, was cash-strapped began circulating last fall. For a while, a number of people were reporting that Al Gore was in line to acquire it, but sadly (for the staff) that never panned out and the magazine and website were shuttered in January leaving a slew of freelance writers unpaid.
Says one contributor we spoke to: “I had been writing for them for almost a year or less. Payment had always been quite slow but I’ve never not been paid.”
Compounding the situation is the fact none of the writers we spoke with currently are seeking payment seem to have been able to reach publisher Mark Spellun to find out where their money is and when they might expect to see it.
“Since Christmas last year I have lost 75% of my projected income and not only is it upsetting to not be paid, it is maddening that he won’t even acknowledge he’s received your email,” a freelancer there told us.
At least one writer we spoke to (no one was willing to go on the record for fear of losing payment as a result) has retained legal counsel, and we hear there are upwards of ten people who are interested in doing the same, potentially as a group.
Said another: “This is a very unfortunate situation, as myself and many of the other writers for the magazine have worked very hard for Plenty, and it is a shame we are not being paid what we are owed. Mark has been difficult to get a hold of, which makes the situation all the more difficult for everyone who is worried and uncertain about when or if they will be paid.”