Richelieu Dennis has stepped down as CEO of Essence Communications after former and current female staffers wrote a lengthy essay on Medium.com detailing years of sexual harassment against female staffers.
The authors demanded the resignation of Essence's board members whom they accuse of contributing to the toxic environment at Essence:
"We demand the immediate resignation of Chief Executive Officer Richelieu Dennis, Essence Ventures board member and former Essence Communications CEO Michelle Ebanks, Chief Operating Officer Joy Collins Profet, and Chief Content Officer Moana Luu."
The essay described the workplace environment under CEOs Dennis and Ebanks as a "surface-level commitment to Black women" and that Dennis is "driven by greed and a debaucherous sexual appetite".
They accused Dennis of "a history of sleeping with women on the Sundial staff, (the parent company of Shea Moisture he sold to Unilever in 2017) and for the women who don't seemingly consent, he openly sexually harasses them at private company events."
On Monday, Essence Communications released a statement denouncing the allegations as baseless.
However, on Tuesday, Essence Communications released another statement saying Dennis will be stepping down as CEO.
"Out of an abundance of caution and an unwavering commitment to transparency, ESSENCE is in the process of hiring law firms and other independent external experts to assess and review the company's policies and practices and conduct comprehensive employee interviews," the statement reads.
Dennis, who founded Shea Moisture products, purchased the iconic Essence magazine from TIME magazine in 2018.