Sentinel Media, the parent company of start-up technology blog, The Kernel, has been issued with a winding up petition. The petition was presented in the High Court on behalf of Jason Hesse on 20 February 2013. Mr Hesse, who was The Kernel’s editor for several months before leaving in May 2012 made an unopposed claim for unpaid wages and unfair dismissal in January 2013.
The winding up petition relates to a debt of £16,853 which is owed to former contributors of the blog which have gone unpaid. If this sum is not paid it would result in the Sentinal Media being wound up.
In addition to the winding up petition, Mr Milo Yainnopoulos, the sole director of Sentinel Media is being investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office for failing to register Sentinel Media under the Data Protection Act, despite the company running a paid-for mailing list. Failing to register the company under the Data Protection Act would be a criminal offence attracting a fine of up to £5,000, for which Mr Yainnopoulos would be personally liable.
Furthermore, investigations reveal that Sentinel Media owe at least £10,000 to other former contributors and co-founders of the blog and Sentinel Media used their work without permission or payment. Two other former writers, Margot Huysman and Mic Wright, say they are both awaiting £4,000 in unpaid wages.
The website’s only source of income is from its weekly mailing list, for which subscribers pay £5.50 per month. However, the blog posts have only appeared intermittently since November 2012, leading to several complaints and demands for refunds from customers.
Steve Karmeinsky, an entrepreneur and angel investor, commented that “The Kernel had the opportunity to write about real issues in the London tech scene, which is one of the most vibrant and exciting technology development spaces globally”, However, “rather than that, it has morphed into a celebrity/gossip magazine”.