Pride Toronto will begin paying dozens of freelancers who were never paid for work done during Pride week after the marketing firm that hired them didn’t foot the bill.
Olivia Nuamah, executive director of Pride Toronto, told the Star that freelancers who have emailed Toronto Pride with their invoices can expect to see their money by the end of February at the latest.
As previously reported by the Star, at least 35 freelance photographers and videographers were hired by Moov Marketing during Toronto’s 2018 Pride festivities in June. According to 23 invoices and a copy of a standard contract obtained by the Star, freelancers were promised $25 per hour — but none of them were ever paid.
Collectively, they are owed around $15,000 from Moov Marketing, a number that will have to be incorporated into the cost of next year’s festival, said Nuamah.
“We raise X amount of money each year and the idea is that we use that to try to lower the cost of the festival,” said Nuamah. “Hopefully we have money leftover. I’m planning effectively to use money that we raise from our private sponsorships to cover those costs.”
Alex Roberts, who is listed as a director at Moov Marketing Group Inc. in corporate listings, was evasive about the issue when contacted by freelancers. Roberts referred to his health problems and said the company had closed when pressed for an answer.
When contacted by the Star on Sunday, Roberts declined to answer any questions, saying “there is no reason to repeat what (has been) said already.”
Nuamah, who was unaware of the payment issue until the organization was contacted by a freelancer who was under the impression they were working directly for Pride Toronto, called the entire situation “unbelievable” and committed to paying every freelancer who was hired by Moov.
“It feels only right,” she said, noting that she felt that the original invoices she received from freelancers were disproportionate for the amount of work that they did for Pride Week.
Emerald Bensadoun is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @twerk_vonnegut