- After a photo of former Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport in brownface resurfaced on Twitter Monday, he resigned from his post.
- The photo sparked a dialogue online about the way Bon Appétit compensates its BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) employees, spearheaded by a statement from Assistant Food Editor Sohla El-Waylly on Instagram who alleged that white employees were compensated for appearances in videos, while people of colour were not.
- People online, including fellow Bon Appétit staff and contributors, rallied behind El-Waylly, calling for Rapoport’s resignation and demanding that BIPOC Bon Appétit staff receive equal compensation as white editors.
- Condé Nast denied the specific allegation about paid video appearances in a statement to Variety, but would not elaborate.
- Bon Appétit and Epicurious published an apology on June 10 that outlined steps to “dismantle racism” at the brands.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
After a photo of Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport in brownface resurfaced on Twitter on Monday he stepped down from his post. The photo of Rapoport sparked other conversations about how Bon Appétit treats people of colour: before his resignation, Bon Appétit Assistant Food Editor Sohla El-Waylly posted a statement on her Instagram story condemning the photo and alleging that Bon Appétit only paid white editors for video appearances on the publication’s incredibly popular YouTube channel.
In case you’ve missed it: Not only is Sohla one of the only front facing Bon Appetit editors to denounce EIC Adam Rapoport doing brown face, apparently only white BA editors are paid for their video appearances. Here’s her Instagram story just now pic.twitter.com/h0uPMlJYHN
— Sarah Manavis (@sarahmanavis) June 8, 2020
“I am angry and disgusted by the photo of @rapoport. I have asked for his resignation. This is just a symptom of the systemic racism that runs rampant within the CondeNast as a whole,” she wrote.
El-Waylly, who is a chef and restaurateur and was hired at Bon Appétit in 2019, said in the story posts that she had been hired at Bon Appétit as an assistant editor at a $US50,000 salary to “assist mostly white editors with significantly less experience than me.” She also said that she had been pushed into video appearances (El-Waylly appears in BA Test Kitchen videos) but that only white editors had been paid for video appearances.
According to Variety, a Condé Nast representative “said it was untrue that Bon Appetit’s white editors are paid for appearing in videos while people of colour are not.” A spokesperson told Insider that the company is “dedicated to creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace.”
On Wednesday, June 10, Bon Appétit and Epicurious, another Condé Nast food-focused brand, published an apology, stating that “we haven’t properly learned from or taken ownership of our mistakes. But things are going to change.” The apology outlined steps that the brands were going to take in order to “make [Bon Appétit and Epicurious] an inclusive, just, and equitable place,” including prioritising people of colour in the editor-in-chief candidate pool, implementing anti-racism training, resolving pay inequities, and launching columns written by BIPOC on both print and digital platforms.
El-Waylly told Buzzfeed News that she had previously asked to be compensated for videos (staffers are paid through contracts with Condé Nast Entertainment), but it was not until she posted on social media on Monday that she was offered a contract.
People on Twitter and Instagram, including other Bon Appétit staffers, began to rally around El-Waylly in support, causing “Sohla” to trend on Twitter. There were calls for Bon Appétit to account for the alleged pay discrepancies, appreciation of El-Waylly’s culinary skill, and praise for her speaking out.
PAY SOHLA FOR HER APPEARANCES IN THE BON APETIT VIDEOS YOU ASSHOLES!
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) June 8, 2020
HOOOOO THE TEST KITCHEN CHEFS COMING FOR ADAM RAPOPORT’S NECK!!! SOHLA!!!!! GO SOHLA GO SOHLA GO SOHLA GO
— Sydney (@sydneyjupiter) June 8, 2020
Someone compile a video of everytime a BA host asks Sohla for help im just tryna see somethin
— ???? Olivia @ Preorder ARTIE AND THE WOLF MOON ???? (@OliveOilCorp) June 8, 2020
Other Bon Appétit staffers spoke out following Sohla’s Instagram story posts, including Senior Food Editor Molly Baz and Food Director Carla Lalli Music, who stated on Instagram that they would not appear in any Bon Appétit videos until El-Waylly and their BIPOC colleagues received equal pay and are fairly compensated for their video appearances. Bon Appétit Contributing Food Editor Claire Saffitz and Senior Food Editor Andy Baraghani also made similar pledges on Instagram.
I don’t know what everyone makes, but clearly Sohla should make more. To that end, this is one thing I can do. pic.twitter.com/mIV4Jd4aFf
— carla lalli music (@lallimusic) June 8, 2020
Bon Appétit contributor Priya Krishna also condemned the photo of Rapoport saying that she “[plans] to do everything in [her] power to hold the EIC, and systems that hold up actions like this, accountable.”
As a BA contributor, I can't stay silent on this. This is fucked up, plain and simple. It erases the work the BIPOC on staff have long been doing, behind the scenes. I plan to do everything in my power to hold the EIC, and systems that hold up actions like this, accountable. https://t.co/admyW8W2eM
— Priya Krishna (@priyakrishna) June 8, 2020
- Read more:
- Bon Appétit’s editor in chief just resigned – but staffers of colour say there’s a ‘toxic’ culture of microaggressions and exclusion that runs far deeper than one man
- The editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit has resigned after a photo of him in brownface resurfaced
- Alison Roman says a resurface dMyspace photo of her isn’t an offensive ‘Chola’ costume, but a San Francisco-inspired Amy Winehouse
- The secret sauce to YouTube’s viral food personalities – ‘they f— up constantly’