Bon Appetit editor resigns

Source:AFP Published: 2020/6/10 18:43:40

Bon Appetit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport (left) and chef Lorena Garcia attend the 13th annual Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit Grand Tasting event on May 10, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: AFP

The editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit has resigned amid a scandal over a photo that showed him wearing brownface as the food magazine faces criticism over treatment of employees of color.

The image emerged on social media more than a week after a freelance food writer criticized Adam Rapoport, who led Bon Appetit for a decade, for a blog he posted on the publication's response to the Black Lives Matter protests. 

The writer, Korsha Wilson, said that black women and women of color "were gaslit, fired, and their ideas used by y'all."

The photo that was once public on Rapoport's wife's Instagram feed - it was removed on Monday - shows the pair in costumes that parodied stereotypical Puerto Rican attire.

The circulation of the photo and the public criticism triggered an uproar on social media, with Bon Appetit staffers calling for Rapoport's resignation.

Late Monday the editor who had worked for 20 years at Conde Nast - parent company of the food glossy - said on Instagram he would step down to "reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being."

Bon Appetit has long faced eyerolls over the way it portrays food from different cultures.

Amid Monday's outrage Sohla el-Waylly, an assistant editor at the company who appears in its popular test-kitchen videos, posted on Instagram that the photograph of her former boss "angered and disgusted her" and pointed to wider discrimination within the company.

"I've been pushed in front of video as a display of diversity," she wrote. 

"In reality, currently only white editors are paid for their video appearances. None of the people of color have been compensated for their appearances."

Conde Nast has denied that allegation.

The drama at Bon Appetit is the latest in a string of similar reckonings in US newsrooms over representation and employment of people of color, as protests rage nationwide over systematic racism and policy brutality.

Also on Monday the head editor of Refinery29 - a lifestyle website aimed at women - also resigned after a slew of employees detailed stories of racial discrimination within its ranks.

Food publications in particular have faced criticism in recent weeks over cultural appropriation.

The New York Times temporarily suspended popular food writer Alison Roman's column after she made insensitive comments about Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen - both Asian women - in an interview that quickly went viral.

Alex Lau, an Asian-American journalist, said Monday he left Bon Appetit for a number of reasons but primarily because "white leadership refused to make changes that my BIPOC co-workers and I constantly pushed for," using the acronym for Black, Indigenous, People of Color.

"I've been quiet about this for so long, because I always thought that I could actually change the organization from within but I was wrong, and quite frankly I am so glad that the internet is going after BA and holding them accountable."


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