It’s one thing to lose your job, but to know that the final paycheck won’t come might just be infuriating.
After the Black News Channel (BNC) disclosed that they’d be shutting down at the end of last month and filing for bankruptcy, another set of challenges have now arisen – employees have yet to see the payroll deposits that they had been told they would still receive.
#BNC failed to pay our final checks. They were slated to be given tomorrow and at 10:37 pm tonight they send an email saying "It is with great regret that we must inform you that #BNC will not be able to pay these wages on Friday, April 8, 2022 as previously communicated."
— Khrystene Coleman (@KhrysteneC) April 8, 2022
“#BNC failed to pay our final checks,” wrote Twitter user @khrystenecoleman. “They were slated to be given tomorrow and at 10:37 pm tonight they send an email saying ‘It is with great regret that we must inform you that #BNC will not be able to pay these wages on Friday, April 8 2022 as previously communicated.’”
What Happened To BNC?
After being in operation for only two years, ABC News reported that BNC made the decision to cease operation. It announced plans to file for bankruptcy after losing the backing of its biggest investor, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn, despite high ratings.
Founded by former GOP congressman J.C. Watts back in 2020, the network was home to more than 250 Black journalists and production personnel when it relaunched in 2021.
After failing to see a return on their investment following two rounds of layoffs, Khan made the decision to halt investing in the organization any further. Soon after, CEO and president Princell Hair sent out a memo to employees noting that the company, which was available in approximately 50 million homes with cable, would cease all live production and file for bankruptcy.
The news came following the network’s biggest audience since its inception thanks to the live coverage of the Judiciary Committee hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Hair told employees that “due to challenging market conditions and global financial pressures, we have been unable to meet our financial goals, and the timeline afforded to us has run out.”
Now weeks behind in payroll, it is unclear when or if employees will ever see their final paychecks. One former employee even noted that working for BNC allowed her to live in the states, but now she is stuck scrambling to find a way to stay.
As long as I've lived here (20+ years) I am still on a work visa. My living here is dependent on my employer sponsoring me.
When Black News Channel shut down, my visa expired and I have 60 days to find a job or leave the US.
You might think BNC would be helpful.
— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) March 30, 2022
“As long as I’ve lived here (20+ years) I am still on a work visa,” wrote Twitter user @DrRJKavanagh. “My living here is dependent on my employer sponsoring me. When Black News Channel shut down, my visa expired and I have 60 days to find a job or leave the US. You might think BNC would be helpful.”
Currently the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is working to help members who have been affected by the shutdown.