How 'The Source' magazine lawsuit could have sparked a hip-hop Me Too movement : Louder Than A Riot In 2006, Kim Osorio, the editor-in-chief of The Source, sued the magazine and its owners for workplace sexual harassment. Nearly two decades later, hip-hop still has not had a true reckoning around sexual misconduct. In this episode, former Source writers take us behind the scenes at the hip-hop bible and the environment that led to the suit. And activist Tarana Burke, creator of "Me Too," reflects on how this case could have put hip-hop ahead of the curve on reckoning with misogynoir.

If you see something, say nothing: Kim Osorio v. 'The Source'

If you see something, say nothing: Kim Osorio v. 'The Source'

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Kim Osorio. Amanda Howell Whitehurst for NPR hide caption

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Amanda Howell Whitehurst for NPR

Kim Osorio.

Amanda Howell Whitehurst for NPR

Journalist Kim Osorio always dreamed of working at The Source magazine. Growing up in The Bronx, she pictured what it would be like to interview culture-shifting artists and be part of the 5 Mic Council. In 2002, she made it happen — working her way up to become the magazine's first woman editor-in-chief.

But her dream started to come apart at the seams when she alleged the magazine's owners harassed and discriminated against her based on her gender — just one part of what she'd come to view as a pattern of inappropriate behavior in the office. Kim submitted a complaint to HR. Shortly after, the owners fired her. She sued the magazine and her former bosses on four claims: gender discrimination, sexual harassment and hostile work environment, retaliation and defamation.

On this episode, we report on what it costs to speak up in a culture where it's always been safer to keep quiet. Former Source writers Aliya King Neil and Khary Turner take listeners behind the scenes at the hip-hop bible, through the environment that led to Kim's complaint. We talk with organizer and journalist Rosa Clemente about the trial and the norms of sexual harassment in hip-hop media, and unpack how both illustrate the barriers that make harassment cases so difficult to prosecute, let alone win. We speak with Tarana Burke — the activist who, the very same year as The Source trial, coined the phrase "Me Too" — about what it takes to build a Me Too movement. And finally, we share why Kim's actual voice isn't in the episode at all and what that absence says about why hip-hop has never really had the reckoning it deserves.

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Audio story produced by Sam J. Leeds

Audio story edited by Soraya Shockley

Audio story engineered by Gilly Moon

Podcast theme and original music by Suzi Analogue and Kassa Overall

Fact-checking by Julia Wohl, Greta Pittinger and Candice Vo Kortkamp