In a post on her personal Tumblr, Trish Bendix, the Editor-in-Chief of AfterEllen.com, a site that has long been a home for queer women’s perspective on culture, announced that after 14 years, the website will close on Friday.
According to Bendix, the site, which is owned by Evolve Media (who purchased it from Viacom two years ago), decided to close AfterEllen after it was not as profitable as “moms and fashion.” She wrote:
[Evolve Media] are mainly white heterosexual men, which is important to note because not only is this the story for us, but for a lot of other properties—large-scale media outlets, lesbian bars out-priced by neighborhoods they helped establish, housing in queer meccas like Portland that is being turned into condos and AirBNBs.
At the very same time, queer women and culture [are] being celebrated on the Emmys, in the legalization of both mothers being included on their newborn’s birth certificate, and our namesake, Ellen DeGeneres, being one of the most well-known, well-liked and undeniably profitable television and lifestyle personalities of our generation.
Somewhere, there’s a disconnect. AfterEllen is just one of the homes lesbian, bisexual and queer women will have lost in the last decade. It was a refuge, a community, a virtual church for so many. I’m not sure that some people outside of us can really ever understand that.
Bendix, who has been with the site in various roles for a decade, said in her post that Evolve will likely keep the archives alive and occasionally publish freelance pieces, though she indicated that she’s not sure what that promise will mean. AfterEllen, Bendix notes, has been a source for the voices of queer women, particularly when the internet and blogs had little room for their perspectives. “AfterEllen gave them the place not just to say it,” Bendix wrote, “but to have a conversation directly with the readers; the community.”
On her Tumblr, Bendix also says that Evolve Media would not let her publish her goodbye note on the site (though it republished in full by the Advocate and Huffington Post’s Queer Voices vertical). LGTBQ Nation called the closing of AfterEllen a “blow to LGTB media,” noting that a number of independent LGTBQ-focused blogs have closed in the last year, unable to sustain competition from larger media outlets.
Bendix closed her post by urging AfterEllen readers to “support queer women, women of color, trans women—give other deserving women your money, your eyeballs, your attention.”
But in a post published a few hours ago, Emrah Kovacoglu, the General Manager of TotallyHer Media, rebuffed Bendix’s post, calling the “rumors” of AfterEllen’s closure “false.” Kovacoglu said that the site will continue but because of lack of growth, the site’s corporate owner could not continue to “invest at the same levels,” and had to let Bendix go as EIC. He wrote:
Rest assured that you will still be able to access the site, all of its content, and communicate with others through the forums. We will continue to work with our freelancers and contributors to cover the many topics and news that are important to the LGBT community.
I know AfterEllen has been an important place in many women’s lives over the years and with the right investment levels, we hope to continue to be that place for many years to come.
Jezebel has reached out to both parties for comment and will update this post if we hear back.