Storm Brews On Eve of Arianna Huffington’s ad:tech Keynote

Everyone’s ad:tech experience is different. Right now, members from our team are on the ground at the Moscone Center are on the expo floor, meeting with old friends and new prospects. It’s going to be a long day today–not just for us, but for over 250 other companies too.

We can’t help but think that off the expo floor, Arianna Huffington, editor of The Huffington Post and featured keynote speaker at ad:tech tomorrow morning, is getting ready for her long today as well. Because today, a hefty number of once-bloggers for the outlet have filed a $105M class action lawsuit against Huffington, personally, in addition to her business partner Ken Lerer, and Aol–for neglecting to throw them a few crumbs from the $315M merger that they believe would’ve been impossible without the value of their content.

You can read a copy of the lawsuit here. Jonathan Tasini, a journalist, ex-HuffPo blogger, and labor activist, is the lead plaintiff in the suit and among his impassioned remarks:

We are going to make Arianna Huffington a pariah in the progressive community…No one will blog for her. She’ll never [be invited to] speak. We will picket her home. We’re going to make it clear that, until you do justice here, your life is going to be a living hell.

And jumping off the “never invited to speak” remark, we’re sure that Huffington can at least bet on her featured keynote engagement tomorrow morning. And attendees who were already buzzing with excitement might be more so. What might be more dicey is how (and if) Huffington will find a way to address this lawsuit or parlay it into a larger discourse about the direction of technology and media. More interesting would be how she would use this case to discuss leadership roles.

By completely omitting all talk of the suit, which is already making noise on Twitter, Huffington could hit a wrong note with audiences. As many may now be wondering how a business model that has helped keep the outlet afloat for six years could suddenly implode.