Monday, April 11th, 2005

Chaos At The Source: Benzino Returns, Kim Osorio Files A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit & More

Scroll to bottom for updates…

It’s been another one of those weekends for The Source and people around it.

On Friday, Benzino announced he was stepping down from The Source. It’s Monday. Guess who’s bizzack? The press release is reprinted in full below.

In the meantime, former Editor-In-Chief Kim Osorio appeared at the University of Chicago’s Hip-Hop and Feminism conference on Saturday. Kim stunned the crowd by starting off by saying, “I want to admit to having made a lot of mistakes.” She went on to say that, in retrospect, sections such as “Dime Piece” and the swimsuit issue may have been ill-considered. “The way we treated women was as objects–turn around, take off your pants, put this on,” she said. She added that she was even asked at one point by another magazine to do a fashion spread. She declined.

In a very revealing moment, she said that she had to pick which battles she wanted to fight. One which she chose not to pursue had to do with a story about rappers and rape in hip-hop. The story was timed to coincide with the Kobe Bryant trial. But, she says, “I was told (by higher-ups), ‘You can’t do that story’. That was a reality check.”

Kim has chosen now to take on a new battle. is reporting today that she and former vice president Michelle Joyce have filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against their former magazine of employment. Among the claims the lawsuit alleges are that a former managing editor was forced to hide out in her office in fear of male harassers.

The lawsuit comes against the backdrop of a massive exodus of staffers over the past several months.

In a press release detailed by and, Joyce said, “I chose to take a stand for women of the Hip Hop generation and for all women who quietly endure such treatment for fear of retaliation and for those women who have suffered in silence and quietly surrendered.”

Sexual harassment at the magazine has been a poorly-kept secret, one that may have played a key role in previous staff upheaval over its fifteen-plus year history, according to former employees of the magazine. But this is the first time such allegations have been made public.

In response, Mays attacked Osorio personally, stating, “Neither of those women ever filed any complaints during many years of working at The Source. It raises alot of quesitons when these types of charges are made subsequent to valid and legitimate terminations of their employment.”

He added, “Also it is a fact that Ms. Osorio had sexual relations with a number of high profile rap artists during her employment as Editor-In-Chief.”

He also went after Joyce, saying, “We also suspect that Joyce falsified health claims in an effort to attack The Source when she learned that she was going to be terminated. We look forward to our day in court on this matter.”

In the meantime, Benzino says his short-lived resignation was reversed because of an emergency meeting of community leaders who insisted that he return, including the Reverend Al Sharpton and executives from Black Enterprise–who own a portion of the magazine, and whom Benzino openly lashed out against on Friday.

Apparently, he chose to leave after Def Jam president LA Reid was forced to pull his advertising from the magazine at the insistence of his boss, Interscope head Jimmy Iovine. Benzino says, “When I heard that LA Reid was going to lose his job, I thought it was the right thing for me to do, to step down, because I don’t want any executive to lose their job over the beef between myself and Eminem”.

Benzino also went on to add that he was giving up making diss records.

The full text of the press release:

Def Jam Records Shocker Cause of Benzino’s Resignation Decision on Friday, April 8, 2005

Chairman LA Reid Pulls Def Jam Advertising From The Source After His Job Is Threatened By Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine

Partners and Black leaders Appeal To Benzino To Continue His Fight For Artist’s Rights and Empowerment in Hip-hop Industry

Benzino To Stay At The Source, Vows Not To Make Anymore Diss Songs… In Partnership With Reverend Al Sharpton’s Movement For Non-Violence In Hip-hop

April 11, 2005- New York, NY- On Friday, April 8, Ray Benzino announced that he was stepping down from his position at The Source Magazine, as Co-Founder and Chief Brand Executive. At press time, however, many community leaders called an emergency meeting and told him he must not leave The Source.

Reverend Al Sharpton, executives from Black Enterprise, David Mays, and others insisted he retain his position for the good of the cause. Benzino says, “When I heard that LA Reid was going to lose his job, I thought it was the right thing for me to do, to step down, because I don’t want any executive to lose their job over the beef between myself and Eminem”

The ongoing Eminem lawsuit played a big role in Benzino’s initial decision to leave The Source. Benzino continues, “For the last couple of years I was speaking up for Hip-hop and going against one label’s manipulation of Hip-hop music and its culture.

The Source Magazine will no longer print any beef with Eminem. Benzino also adds that he will no do anymore diss records against Eminem or any other artist. Benzino adds, “The Source needs to be preserved for future generations of Hip-hoppers. I’ve learned a lot these past few years. The major vehicles of Hip-hop (radio, TV, etc) are aligning themselves for the money. I understand that but we need to look beyond profit and install the balance so everyone has a chance to eat and benefit from one of the most important economic opportunities- Hip-hop.”

Benzino will not step down from The Source Magazine. He will continue to work closely with partner, David Mays and with Black Enterprise (Earl Graves and his son Butch) and others to make The Source bigger and better. Zino concludes, “We’ve started The Source Life Project, The Source Youth Foundation, The Source Latino, a Source clothing line, and our own mobile ring tones. We will also continue with The Source Awards and The Source All Access. Most important of all is the music side, fat tapes, ZNO Records and The Source Hip-hop hits.”

The Source Magazine, the leading voice for the Hip-Hop community for the past 17 years addresses these problems in the May issue which is on newsstands now. It asks the question, “Is Hip-Hop The New WWF?”

The Source goes on to provide in-depth reporting and analysis on the state of Hip-Hop in light of the recent 50 Cent/The Game beef and subsequently staged “truce.” The May issue also features an exclusive interview with an insider within The Game’s Black Wall Street camp who reveals shocking news on the confrontation at Hot 97 and the truth about Game and G-Unit.

In recent weeks, the New York Daily News, Reverend Al Sharpton and others have turned the discussion of responsibility for violence in Hip-Hop from a focus on the artists back into the corporate headquarters of the music industry’s largest record and radio companies. This follows over two and a half years of reporting by The Source on forces working to destroy Hip-Hop, including corruption, racism and monopolization within the music industry.

Updates 4/11:
+ MTV News Coverage
+ Press Release From Kim Osorio and Michelle Joyce’s Lawyer, via Prohiphop.

Update 4/12:
+ Interview with Benzino, Part 1.
+ Interview with Benzino, Part 2.
+ Murder Dog Interview with Benzino (Note: This is in the current issue but was conducted long before the events of the past weekend.)
+ EEOC Documents From Kim Osorio and Michelle Joyce, via

posted by @ 10:49 am | 2 Comments

2 Responses to “Chaos At The Source: Benzino Returns, Kim Osorio Files A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit & More”

  1. jcruelty says:

    wow, benzino comes off as a grade-a asshole in that allhiphop interview… but what else is new…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah that guy is definetly a asshole ! Shorty aint even a Dime Piece

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