Enjoy your meal
Adam Rapoport, now former editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit,after an Instagram photo of him, dressed in a stereotypical Puerto Rican costume, resurfaced on social media. Several staff members of the Condé Nast-owned publication accused Rapoport and the executives of discrimination.
Sohla El-Waylly, an associate editor, said on Instagram that the image is “just a symptom of the systematic racism that is spreading in the CondeNast as a whole.” El-Waylly said she was not paid for appearances on the company’s YouTube channel, while white staff members were compensated: “I was pushed in front of the video as a display of diversity.”
Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, Rapoport’s assistant, said in an interview with Business Insider that his former boss repeatedly refused him a pay raise and suggested he go to work elsewhere. “I’m the only black woman on her staff,” Walker-Hartshorn said at the exit. “He treats me like help.”
Bon Appétit apologized to readers and contributors on Wednesday, promising to make the publication an “inclusive, fair and equitable venue.” Staff promised to prioritize people of color to replace Rapoport, conduct anti-racism training, and address wage inequality across the company. “This means dismantling the toxic and descending culture that has injured many of our staff, past and present, and supporting Condé Nast’s internal investigation to hold individual offenders to account,” the statement said.
On the same day, Matt Duckor, Condé Nast’s vice president of programming, announced his resignation, the New York Times reported. Earlier in the week, Duckor was criticized for racist and homophobic tweets which surfaced, with a tweet reading, “Are you in Harlem with all blacks and Asian same-sex couples?”
At Refinery29, co-founder and editor Christene Barberich resigned following an outcry from staff who said they had been victims of workplace racism, a toxic work environment and wage disparities. Barberich said Monday that she was stepping down after seeing “the raw and personal accounts of black women and women of color about their experiences.”
Former Refinery29 employees shared messages about racism, from pay disparities to a toxic culture. Ashley Alese Edwards, a former employee, Tweeted“Systemic discrimination and lack of respect must be real for the systemic discrimination and disrespect that Black, POC and other marginalized people (i.e., yes, it happened to queer people as well) that they faced when they were employed there.”
Writer Ashley Ford, who worked on the fashion site for less than nine months, said that “the ego of white women” governed editorial processes. “One of the founders constantly confused me with one of our full-time front desk associates and the pay disparity was atrocious,” she said. Tweeted.
The New York Times
Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times editorial pageresigned following the publication of Senator Tom Cotton’s incendiary opinion piece. With the title “Send in the Troops,” the Arkansas Republican advocated for the use of military force to bring order to the protests. The play sparked an outcry from Times journalists, with several claiming on social media that the publication of the editorial endangered the lives of black staff members.
A note from the editor has since been added to Cotton’s essay, saying “we concluded that the trial was not below our standards and should not have been published.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Another headline published by The Philadelphia Inquirer drew criticism, leading to the resignation of the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Stan Wischnowski. Staff members were upset by the headline “Buildings Matter Too,” in reference to the destruction of property during the protests. Thirty members of the 210-person editorial board called for “sickness and tired of not being heard.”
Founder Leandra Cohen has announced that she will step back from Man Repeller after facing criticism from readers. Cohen published a blog post addressing the protests, which was slammed by readers. One said: “I’m sorry, but the MR can never be inclusive. You would have to change your grape to be.
Another wrote: “MR has always had a reputation in the industry for its lack of internal diversity and representation. This is manifested by an often deaf and privileged perspective on fashion that is unfeasible to the readers it claims to be inclusive.
In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, two black journalists said they were not allowed to cover the protests. Alexis Johnson, a journalist, said she was no longer allowed to cover the protests because of a tweet that read: “Horrible scenes and the consequences of selfish LOOTERS who don’t care about this city!!!!! …. Oh wait sorry. No, these are pictures of a tailgate by Kenny Chesney. Whoops.
“They kept calling it an educational conversation, but there was no warning, no ‘Hey can you take the tweet down? By Monday morning, they had decided I would not be able to cover him again,” Johnson said at a news conference.
Michael Santiago, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, said he was also removed from the protest cover, but said management has yet to tell him why.
However, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Keith C. Burris, rebuffed any wrongdoing in an open letter. “The editors of this newspaper did not isolate a black journalist and a black photographer and prevent them from covering the Pittsburgh protests after the murder of George Floyd,” Burris wrote Wednesday. “Is a scandalous lie – a defamation, in fact. We assumed that the lie was so outrageous that it did not need rebuttal.
Journalist Joshua Axelrod, who is white, told CBS Pittsburgh that he was questioned by management after making a “legitimate journalistic error on social media.”
“‘was initially treated much more leniently by newsroom management than Alexis Johnson or Michael Santiago were and was removed from retroactive protest coverage,” Axelrod said, admitting that he decided to speak out on behalf of his colleagues.
“Trying to put a bandaid on an amputation”
Soraya Chemaly, director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project, told CBS News that current and former employees of these media companies risk their future, but said their grievances are needed to make changes.
“We know that the people who present these stories, do it in danger to their reputation, and their income and they are afraid,” Chemaly said. “When people do that, when they raise these stories, they give room for others so they don’t have to experience these things.”
While the editors’ resignations are a symbolic step for newsrooms, Chemaly is skeptical about their impact on the effect of lasting change.
“The suggestion of these resignations is that there are only a few bad apples. And if we get rid of the mauvaises apples, everything is fine. And of course, that’s not fair. We have a barrel problem, not an apple problem,” Chemaly said. “Statements, resignations, commitments to Black Lives Matter or being anti-racist are not things that happen in a moment. They require long-term investments, cultural awareness, introspection, systemic changes, changes in the way people are hired, the way they are given to permanence, how they are paid, how they are rewarded for their work.
Chemaly compared the resignations to “trying to put a bandage on an amputation.”
“It’s the best you can do right now to get a visible answer,” she said. “But you really have to follow it with money, resources and structural changes. And these are the things that take time and effort and sustained commitments.