This weekend, former EIC of horror magazine Fangoria Ken W Hanley tweeted,
Been waiting a long time to say it, but I can finally say: I am no longer involved with FANGORIA.
— The Kenkeeper! (@movieguyiguess) February 12, 2017
For those wondering: there will likely never be another issue of FANGORIA, especially in print, unless there's new ownership.
— The Kenkeeper! (@movieguyiguess) February 12, 2017
Which coincided with the following article Bleeding Cool was preparing to run, by contributor James Wright.
Bleeding Cool has often been on the frontlines fighting for writers and creators to get paid any late and outstanding money owed to them by publishers. We were alerted by horror magazine Fangoria writer Josh Hadley who alleges that horror magazine Fangoria was having issues paying him and other writers.
We reached out to Fangoria's Tom Defeo for a statement several days ago, but have yet to receive a response. We would be happy to publish another version of events.
James Wright: Tell us about how you initially got involved with Fangoria and started writing for them?
Josh Hadley: How I got to write for them is such an odd story. I had been reading Fangoria since the early 1980's and had many years worth of subscriptions throughout the years. I kind of gave up around the early 2000's when I felt the magazine had hit it's lowest point… that Twilight cover. It was not Fangoria any longer.
I ran across a random issue in a used store a few years later and found the magazine had REALLY rebounded. Seems there had been an editorial change and Chris Alexander (formally of Rue Morgue) was really making the magazine something once more. Then Alexander had something of a controversy hit him. Seems he reviewed his own film using a pseudonym in a magazine he edited without telling the readership. I took issue with that. After the Spiderbaby plagiarism scandal I went after Fangoria and Alexander HARD on my radio program and in a column, I used to write for a website I am no longer part of. Alexander messaged me and we got to talking and even though I was not comfortable with what he had done he asked me if I wanted to pitch something. I hit him with a few ideas and one really stuck. A look at the movies that you can ONLY get on VHS tape. Those movies that, for one reason or another, are in a legal purgatory keeping them off DVD. This was a 2 page one off article. It seems it went over quite well with the readership and I was asked if I wanted to turn it into a regular column. So I began writing that column every issue some special assignments for the magazine (looking at the Kevin Smith produced Vulgar film or reviewing books that pertained to VHS culture).
So yeah, I got the job by insulting and attacking the editor in chief of the magazine. Not a style I recommend but it somehow worked.
JW: Fangoria has been one of the most popular magazines of the horror genre since the early 80s, but was there a moment that you first noticed there might be a problem?-
JH: Well, I had heard about non-payment issues with the previous ownership of the Fangoria (back when they were a Starlog publication) but I was always paid on time under Alexander's reign on the magazine. I did catch little bits here and there of some troubles and a few times the magazine was delayed in printing but I was assured it was all okay and again, I was paid on time so I figured it was all good in the end.
Then Alexander left and Michael Gingold was given the big chair. That didn't go over very well as he very publicly left the magazine (of which had been part since the late 1980's) under less than desirable circumstances. My payments stopped around this time. The issues stopped being printed and began appearing as digital issues shortly thereafter. I was assured I would get paid… the magazine was okay, they just needed to get some more ad revenue and then they could print the issues and everything would be fine. Then the delays got longer and longer and longer until what was meant as the saving grace hail mary play that was the Kevin Smith edited issue. I only know the scuttlebutt I heard but it seems that this was a make it or break it issue and it did not make it. Keep in mind the magazine had been digital only for 4 issues now and subscribers were getting pissed off. All the while announcements of "Printing next week" kept coming at a regular basis.
I liked my editor at the time so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. As it stands now, I have not been paid in over a year, I am owed a 4 digit amount and I am sure others are as well.
JW: Have you talked about this with any other Fangoria writers or staff members?
JH: I have spoken to a few of the other writers and artists and none of them have been paid either. They mostly have accepted that it's done and they are not getting paid. I am not. We did the work, the work was printed and we deserve payment. Some of them are afraid of making a public stink fearing that it will paint them as troublemakers and costing them future jobs. I will not let Defeo get away with this.
BC: What's the next step for you and how do you move forward from here?
JW: Besides going public, I have sued Tom Defeo in Small Claims court for what I am owed plus interest (according to New York state law a freelancer not paid on time can sue for double what they are owed). As of this writing he has not responded.
We welcome commentary from anyone associated with Fangoria and are happy to provide a right to reply.