“You regularly show contempt for the people who make all your financial success possible,” the group said in a letter to site owners Todd Cefaratti and Kellen Guida. “The staff who work around the clock to produce timely and breaking content is regularly reminded that ‘writers are cheap.’ The audience is regarded as unsophisticated simpletons.”
The letter was signed by TPNN’s social media director Jennifer Burke and two contributors, Matthew Burke and Greg Campbell. They were joined by Kris Hall and Dustin Stockton, who worked for Cefaratti’s other website, TheTeaParty.Net.
According to the Daily Beast, TheTeaParty.net received more than $6 million in donations during the last election cycle. But at the same time, TPNN’s website has drawn criticism from other conservatives for including non-political content like video footage of street altercations.
“It was supposed to be an educational tool for people who were upset with what is going on in the world,” said conservative activist Samuel J. “Joe The Plumber” Wurzelbacher. “But then they figured out, ‘Hell, we can make more money off of this.’ I stopped going to the site. It stopped being informative.”
TPNN news director and Fox News contributor Scottie Hughes told the Beast that the videos helped the site retain readership.
“Nobody talks politics 24/7. People talk sports. People talk dog shows,” she said. “We are like other news outlets trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We are trying to make you a well-rounded person, so you can have stuff to talk about at the water cooler, so you aren’t just seen as the crazy Tea Party person who has been demonized for so long.”
But the group accused TPNN management in its resignation letter of steering money raised “using non-profit dollars and resources” into a for-profit company without any transparency, while posting “increasingly vile and unacceptable” content.
“The activism that built all the infrastructure is considered a ‘pain in the ass’ not as an opportunity to save the country,” the letter stated. “As a group we can no longer tolerate being associated with these despicable practices.”
The letter was posted in its entirety by the Washington Free Beacon, and can be read below:
Full Tea Party News Network resignation letter from staffers: pic.twitter.com/JWOEzhKI6y
— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) February 19, 2015