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(CityRegions.Com, August 31, 2021 ) DENTON, TX - (EMAILWIRE) - Describing the lawsuit against her as “baseless” and “racist,” the woman sued by Allison Publications for questioning their business practices has responded, condemning the suit and claiming her news reporting efforts are protected by the First Amendment.
In a statement filed with the court by her attorney, a woman using the pseudonym “Maya Pembledon” says she is “being sued for questioning racist policies by D Magazine and its editor Tim Rogers.”
The case is Allison Publications v. Jane Doe, 21-4755-431 in the 431st Judicial District Court of Denton County. Allison Publications is the parent company of D Magazine.
Pembledon testifies that she is a black woman, single mother, and freelance writer. She says she has been working on a piece about racial bias in local journalism, including at D Magazine.
“Despite paying lip service to racial justice, these magazines often do not actually incorporate the voices and perspectives of people of color,” Pembledon says in her declaration.
Pembledon identifies three “red flags” in her statement that led her to question D Magazine’s business practices:
Red Flag #1: Who runs D Magazine?
The editor of D Magazine, Tim Rogers, is a white man. Their Editor in Chief, Christine Allison, is white. Their President, Gillea Allison, is white. In fact, everyone on their executive team is white and it appeared to me they operate on a family patronage system—the very definition of white privilege.
Red Flag #2: What is D Magazine’s business model?
D Magazine appears to operate a business model that is ethically questionable. Their Editor in Chief Christine Allison also heads up their ad agency D Custom. This seems to give them a skewed incentive to prioritize paid advertisers over editorially significant works which can have disparate impact on covering stories important to people of color.
Red Flag #3: Who is featured in D Magazine?
I looked through the “Best in Dallas” sections to get a sense of who is being featured. When I searched for best doctors, for example, I came upon the “Expert Advice” section which in fact is paid sponsored content advertising. And which doctors are featured? Well, out of the first 10 displayed, nine were white and the tenth was asian american. No black doctors were featured. Similarly, the “Expert Advice” section contained no black lawyers and no black dentists. In fact, I could not find a single black expert featured in the entire section. There are 7.5 million residents in the DFW Metroplex and not a single Black or Latinx expert could be found.
After Pembeldon reached out to businesses listed in D Magazines’ advertising to “respectfully ask questions” about the three issues, she says that’s when she was hit with the pending lawsuit.
“It appears to me they are assuming because I am a black woman who is asking questions about their business practices that I am automatically a liar with bad intentions and improper motives,” adds Pembledon.
According to Pembledon’s attorney, Tony McDonald, she is fighting back against the lawsuit using the Texas Citizens Participation Act.
“Texas laws shield people like Maya from frivolous lawsuits like the one filed against her by D Magazine,” said McDonald. “We are asking the court to throw out the suit and to award Maya her attorney’s fees incurred in defending against it.”
Comparing herself to famous writer Nellie Bly, Pembledon says she chose to use the “nom de plume” Maya Pembledon in order to protect herself from predatory lawsuits. She also notes the hypocrisy of D Magazine, who has used the TCPA in the past to defend itself.
“For years and years, D Magazine has defended themselves when they have been sued under the banner of first amendment protections,” says Pembledon. “Yet, it is obvious they don’t believe such protections apply to independent black freelance writers like me.”
Pembledon has sharp words for the people who sued her:
“I believe that D Magazine, Allison Publications, Tim Rogers, Christine Allison, and Gillea Allison have demonstrated their racism and arrogance through the filing of this predatory lawsuit,” says Pembledon. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Pembeldon’s complete statement regarding the lawsuit can be viewed here:
Questions regarding the lawsuit can be directed to The Law Offices of Tony McDonald, 512-200-3608.
Source: The Law Offices of Tony McDonald.
The Law Offices of Tony McDonald is a law firm based in Leander, Texas and founded in 2013. The firm specializes in civil litigation, particularly in matters involving the defense of the First Amendment. The firm’s founder, Tony McDonald, is licensed to practice law by the Texas Supreme Court and is admitted to practice in the Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Federal District Courts of Texas as well as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Law Offices of Tony McDonald
Tony McDonald, Principal