We can’t help but feel a little responsible for this one. Yesterday Betabeat ran a story about an email from Moviefone Editor-in-Chief Patricia Chui informing freelancers that they were going to be let go, but offering them the opportunity to participate as part of their “non-paid” blogger system.
Well now Kara Swisher reports that Chui got the boot herself.
This was the second public gaffe for Chui in the past month. Moviefone sent Techcrunch writer Alexia Tsotsis an email asking her tone down the snark in a post about the film Source Code. After Tsotsis called them out, Chui wrote a blog post defending her company’s cozy relationship with the film studios.
UPDATE: An AOL staffer from a recently downsized website writes in to say -
It’s embarrassing that such an experienced journalist bought the AOL party line that Chui was responsible for the “you’re fired, now work for free” message.
We got handed that message long before Patricia Chui’s email. Execs gave it during call-in meetings during the merger. Everyone expected it, HuffPo promised we were wrong, and we were right.
Chui was a scapegoat. Her firing means nothing. Everyone left at AOL will be a lot more callous toward bloggers and their journalistic responsibilities than she was.
It is an important, will-affect-shareholders issue that AOL’s content team will continue to destroy what was left of journalistic integrity there, and that they’ll hide behind Chui’s firing until the next scandal breaks.