PinkNews parent company sues Out magazine publisher for breach of contract, fraud

PinkNews Media Group, the parent company of PinkNews, is suing Pride Media, which publishes popular LGBT+ magazines Out and The Advocate, over unpaid advertising earnings.

A lawsuit filed in New York last Friday (June 14), and obtained by PinkNews, alleges breach of contract and fraud stemming from an advertising partnership agreement between the two businesses in May 2018.

Under the deal Pride Media serviced advertising on the PinkNews website in the US with the two sides agreeing to split the revenue equally.

PinkNews Media Group alleges that, to date, Pride Media has failed to pay earnings in excess of $180,000, despite numerous demands for payment and repeated assurances from Pride Media and its parent company Oreva Capital that the outstanding debt would be cleared.

The lawsuit names Pride Media, Oreva Capital and its CEO Adam Levin as defendants.

PinkNews Media Group says Pride Media fraudulently “suppressed, concealed, and misrepresented material facts which they had a duty to disclose,” claiming that Pride Media’s former CEO Nathan Coyle and Levin made numerous overtures that debts would be cleared without following through.

According to the suit, Pride made claims it “would pay its outstanding debt as of November 16, 2018 by the week of November 23, 2018,” but informed PinkNews Media Group in December that it had “fallen victim to some financial irregularities by a supplier and that this meant that the money held for [PinkNews] had been used to pay staff salaries and improve cash flow.”

In mid-December, per the suit, Pride said it would pay PinkNews in “early January 2019.” Similar claims were made again in March 2019 and, finally, in May, Levin mooted a structured repayment plan that never materialised.

The filing claims that during the length of the agreement, Pride Media struck advertising deals with big brands including Netflix and Wells Fargo to advertise on the PinkNews website in the US.

PinkNews Media Group chief executive Benjamin Cohen said: “We are very disappointed that the two largest LGBT+ media companies in the world will be facing each other in court, but we have no choice to recover the money that Pride Media has collected on our behalf, but not paid us.”

There are reports that Pride Media has been forced to lay off staff, along with owing writers and photographers large sums of money for content created for publications including Out.

PinkNews Media Group is represented by US attorneys Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman.

Levin nor Oreva returned PinkNews’ request for comment by the time of publication.