Black News Channel Unable to Pay Employees After Filing Bankruptcy

Black News Channel Unable to Pay Employees For Earned Wages After Abrupt Closing

BNC hosts Aisha Mills, Del Walters (left), BNC President and Chief Executive Princell Hair, and host Charles Blow, (right). (Image: Black News Channel)

Employees at the now-defunct Black News Channel (BNC) are facing challenges with receiving their “earned” wages after the network announced it was shutting down and filing for bankruptcy on Friday.

BNC had been operating for two years when President and CEO Princell Hair sent out a company-wide email letting employees know that the organization was ceasing operation and would be filing for bankruptcy.

The announcement was made on a scheduled pay date, but employees were not paid, WCTV reported. BNC spokesperson Tim Buckman claimed that payroll deposits scheduled for Friday would go out on Monday. However, by Monday, Buckman was no longer with the company and employees had still not been paid.

After the news outlet reached out asking if employees had been paid on Monday, a second spokesperson responded Tuesday night saying the majority but not all employees had been paid for “earned wages.”  The spokesperson claimed that other staffers who were owed “earned but unpaid wages owed” will have to wait until after BNC’s bankruptcy proceedings and its assets get liquidated.

It remains unclear how many employees have still not been paid. The network filed for voluntary bankruptcy on Monday night and was working “to secure financing” for the proceedings, the spokesperson said.

Many were surprised to learn that BNC would be shutting down after just two years in business. The minority-led news network was supported by billionaire Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter.

It was just last year when BNC announced a rebooted lineup consisting of on-air talents like New York Times veteran Charles M. Blow and cable news regular Marc Lamont Hill. The relaunch was expected to position BNC as “a space for Black news, that doesn’t have the architecture of the larger culture around it.”

On Friday, the National Association of Black Journalists said it “learned that plans are in the works to develop a solution to provide employees with their last three weeks of pay. NABJ is exploring ways to assist our members impacted by the closing.”