Bon Appétit announced a new editor-in-chief after 7 of its stars left the popular YouTube channel. Here’s how the magazine devolved into chaos.

Summary List Placement

  • Condé Nast and its food publication Bon Appétit have come under fire as high-profile staff members have made — or been subjects of — allegations of racism, among other things.
  • Between countless social-media posts, an exposé in which employees of color described a “toxic” work environment, and the resignations of executives, the publication has perhaps experienced its most turbulent period ever.
  • Weeks after the initial controversy, seven BA YouTube stars announced they would no longer appear in the publication’s popular videos. 
  • Following former editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport’s departure from the publication in June, publishing powerhouse Dawn Davis will start as Bon Appétit’s new editor-in-chief on November 2.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bon Appétit’s reckoning has continued weeks after the publication experienced a deluge of public criticism from fans, contributors, and former and current employees, many of whom have described a culture of racism and inequality at the brand and its parent company, Condé Nast.

After several inflammatory social-media posts from executives and employees surfaced online, Business Insider published a report based on interviews with 14 current and former staffers at the publication who described the beloved outlet as a “toxic” workplace in which people of color had been treated like a second class.

Weeks after the publication promised to do better, seven of the brand’s video stars said they will no longer appear on its popular YouTube channel. Now, the publication has named a new editor-in-chief.

Here’s a breakdown of the tumultuous recent history of Bon Appétit.

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On May 31, the Bon Appétit Instagram account posted about plans to address “racial and political issues” in the food world — a move that prompted discussion about the publication’s diversity.

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Amid nationwide protests sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd in police custody, the publication, like many other companies, voiced solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

It posted a photo on Instagram with the words “Food has always been political” in front of a black background.

“Here at BA, we’re often talking about recipes, cooking techniques, and emerging restaurants,” the caption alongside the photo said. “But we also understand that food is inherently political.”

The post said that in coming days readers could expect to see “more stories from restaurant owners and staff at the front lines of these protests” and more attention to black-owned food businesses.

Ultimately, the caption promised that Bon Appétit would be “tackling more of the racial and political issues at the core of the food world” and encouraged followers to donate to organizations supporting racial justice.

While the post initially seemed well-received — it has nearly 90,000 likes — its sentiments stirred up online discussion about the publication’s history with nonwhite food writers.

On June 4, the Puerto Rican food writer Illyanna Maisonet called out what she viewed as hypocrisy in Bon Appétit’s solidarity effort, Insider’s Anneta Konstantinides reported. Maisonet recalled that she pitched a story to the publication “about Afro-Boricuas that make regional rice fritters” — a pitch she said an editor rejected, reasoning it sounded like “a story that could have been told 5 years ago.”

Bon Appétit went on to publish “another Euro-ingredient story,” she wrote.

Bet if I pitched it today, they’d buy it. #solidaritymyassIn a since-deleted Instagram post featuring a screenshot of her tweet, Maisonet elaborated on her concerns with Bon Appétit and its social-media activism.

“So, before we go praising them for patting themselves on the back for showing ‘solidarity’ during a time when it would be bad for business to NOT show solidarity… maybe we can get some full print issues of the regional foods of Puerto Rico,” she wrote. “Oh, and Africa. Brazil. Basically, the entire f—ing Diaspora. BY people from the Diaspora.”

Bon Appétit’s editor in chief, Adam Rapoport, commented on the post, writing: “Strongly agree with all of this. We are actively working to bring new faces and POVs onto our staff, including the test kitchen, to ensure lasting change. This will happen.”

Maisonet and Rapoport appeared to continue the discussion via direct messages on Instagram — messages that Maisonet then shared in another tweet.
In the messages, Rapoport told Maisonet that Bon Appétit readers expected food stories about “what’s happening right now,” though this was “not always” the case. Such exceptions had been made, he suggested, for Rick Martinez’s carnitas recipe, Priya Krishna’s recipes for “many of the Indian recipes she grew up with,” and Andy Baraghani’s “favorite Persian dishes.”

Rapoport went on to say that staff writers of color had a simpler “path to a green light” for pitches than freelancers would.

“I’m definitely certain listing your three POC staff token writers (two of which are white presenting) is helpful in ensuring I am aware of the ‘diversity’ BA HAS shown,” Maisonet responded. “But I get that their avenues are less congested when it comes to getting ideas accepted, as they are staffers. That still doesn’t deflect from the fact that you don’t have any Puerto Rican stories or recipes.”

The screenshots of the messages elicited a strong response on Twitter.

“He himself just listed BA’s tokenization problem yet doesn’t see it as a problem?” one commenter wrote.

On June 8, a photo resurfaced of Rapoport in a costume meant to resemble a stereotypical Puerto Rican look.

The photo, originally posted to Instagram by Rapoport’s wife, Simone Shubuck, in 2013, featured the couple posing together at a Halloween party in 2004.

“#TBT me and my papi,” Shubuck captioned the since-deleted post, tagging Rapoport and using the hashtag #boricua.

The food writer Tammie Teclemariam shared a screenshot of the post — and several of its comments from other prominent members of the media — on Twitter, captioning the photo “I do not know why Adam Rapoport simply doesn’t write about Puerto Rican food for @bonappetit himself!!!”
“This was so dead on, I was so afraid of you two that night!!!!!” Jane Larkworthy, who is the current beauty editor at large of The Cut, commented on the photo, according to Teclemariam’s screenshots.

“Beyond. Did Rapo know you were gramming this!?” Bon Appétit’s current editor at large Christine Muhlke wrote.

“Yes that is do rag under his hat if that is what you meant,” Shubuck responded, adding a winking emoji.
Larkworthy replied to the tweet, calling her words “shameful.”

“My comment on this post, with its implication that I’m afraid of people of color — in particular, Puerto Rican people — is shameful,” she wrote. “What’s even more shameful is that I didn’t approach the people in the photograph at the time and tell them why this was racist.”
The photo sparked outrage among Bon Appétit fans and contributors alike. Several chefs and food writers affiliated with the publication denounced Rapoport on social media.

The contributor Priya Krishna reacted to the photo on Twitter, where she shared her plans moving forward.

“As a BA contributor, I can’t stay silent on this. This is f—– up, plain and simple. It erases the work the BIPOC on staff have long been doing, behind the scenes,” she wrote in a tweet. “I plan to do everything in my power to hold the EIC, and systems that hold up actions like this, accountable.”
Bon Appétit’s research director, Joseph Hernandez, tweeted that he was “appalled and insulted by the EIC’s choice to embrace brownface,” adding that he was potentially “courting internal reprimand” for speaking out.

“I’ve spent my career celebrating Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and POC voices in food, and this feels like an erasure of that work,” he wrote.
The senior editor Andy Baraghani weighed in on social media as well, writing in an Instagram story that he wanted to “make it very clear” that he did “not condone the photo” of Rapoport. “It is beyond inexcusable,” he said.

Among the Bon Appétit employees to call out Rapoport’s behavior was the assistant food editor Sohla El-Waylly, who opened up a larger discussion about the publication’s treatment of people of color.

El-Waylly addressed the controversy in an Instagram story in which she condemned Rapoport’s photo and suggested that Bon Appétit paid only white editors for video appearances on the publication’s wildly popular YouTube channel, Insider’s Palmer Haasch reported.

The tech writer Sarah Manavis (and many others) shared screenshots from the story on Twitter, noting that El-Waylly was one of only a few “front-facing” Bon Appétit editors to denounce Rapoport at the time.

“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,” El-Waylly wrote.
The chef and restaurateur, who was hired at Bon Appétit in 2019 and has since appeared in the fan-favorite Test Kitchen videos, continued, saying she had been hired as an assistant editor to “assist mostly white editors with significantly less experience” — for an annual salary of $50,000. She added that she had been “pushed in front of video as a display of diversity.”

Commenters and some Bon Appétit personalities were quick to rally around El-Waylly and call on the publication to do better by its employees of color.

“Please let it be known that I stand with my family @bonappetitmag and do not support the behavior of our editor-in-chief,” the senior editor Molly Baz wrote in an Instagram story. “I will not appear in any videos on Bon Appétit until my BIPOC colleagues receive equal pay and are fairly compensated for their appearances.”

Carla Lalli Music, the publication’s food director, said on both Instagram and Twitter that she would not “contribute as a host” in videos until El-Waylly was appropriately compensated. She also called on Matt Duckor, the Condé Nast executive behind Bon Appétit’s popular videos, to address the issue.
Other tweets focused on El-Waylly’s prowess in the kitchen, demanding that she be paid for her appearances and highlighting on-camera moments in which El-Waylly “cooked circles” around her colleagues.

A Condé Nast representative told Variety that it was “untrue” that the publication’s white editors were paid for appearing in videos while people of color were not.

A representative told Insider that the company was “dedicated to creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace.”

Later that evening, Rapoport resigned as editor in chief.

In a statement posted to Instagram, Rapoport announced that he would be stepping down to “reflect on the work” he needed to do “as a human being” and to allow Bon Appétit to “get to a better place.”

Rapoport went on to call the Halloween costume in the infamous photo “extremely ill-conceived” and said he had not “championed an inclusive vision” at the publication.

The statement continued: “The staff has been working hard to evolve the brand in a positive, more diverse direction. I will do all I can to support that work, but I am not the one to lead the work. I am deeply sorry for my failings and to the position in which I put the editors of BA. Thank you.”

Rapoport’s post is no longer available, as his Instagram account seems to have been removed.

Manavis, however, uploaded screenshots of the post to Twitter.

On June 9, a photo of a Confederate-flag cake, baked by the Bon Appétit drinks editor Alex Delany years ago, resurfaced online.

A photo of the cake, which was originally posted to Delany’s Tumblr account called “The Pantalones” in 2010, began circulating on Twitter when Tammie Teclemariam, the food writer who shared the infamous photos of Rapoport, mentioned the creation in a tweet.

“Close your eyes and picture the confederate flag cake Alex Delany posted to his Tumblr,” she quipped, to which a commenter replied with a link to the blog post with the photo.

“God, didn’t even have to try hard to find it,” she wrote.
In the blog post, which has since been removed, Delany said he had baked the cake for his best friend who was moving to South Carolina.

“To honor her new home, my friends and I felt the need to express some southern heritage in cake form,” Delany wrote. “Such a glorious cake for such a sad occasion.”

The “about” section on the Tumblr account, Insider’s Anneta Konstantinides reported, confirmed that the page, was, in fact, Delany’s blog.

Delany addressed the photo in a series of Instagram stories.

“There’s an image of a cake depicting a confederate flag that was pulled from my Tumblr when I was 17,” he wrote. “It goes without saying that this is a despicable symbol that a 17 year-old should understand. It does not reflect the values that I hold now. I condemn whoever uses or glorifies that flag.”

Delany said the photo reflected “a lack of understanding” and called it “shameful.”

“I cannot apologize intensely enough,” he wrote. “I know it doesn’t cut it, but I am truly sorry. The significance of the failure is not lost on me.”

In a follow-up story, Delany wrote that he would be donating his next paycheck to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, in addition to frequently donating to “the charities and organizations that are fighting for progress.”

More screenshots from Delany’s old Tumblr posts and tweets continued to surface online — many of which commenters described as “objectifying women.”

On the same day when the Confederate-flag cake photo resurfaced, a Vine video clip in which Delany used a homophobic slur began circulating on Instagram.

The clip, which was first posted to Vine in 2013 with the caption “How to not offend gay people,” features Delany looking into the camera and saying, “You guys wanna see a bunch of f—— lying on top of each other?” before panning to a pile of sticks.

Elazar Sontag, an Eater staff writer who reposted the video to Instagram, called on Delany to resign immediately from Bon Appétit.

“Before I found my way to food writing, people like @alex_delany were the reason I didn’t think I could build a life in restaurants and the food world,” Sontag captioned the since-deleted post. “They made food into this hyper-masculine, deeply gendered sport that I didn’t think I could participate in as a gay kid. The underlying implication was that people like this hated my existence, that they didn’t see gay people as equal, or even worth acknowledging. That I would never be welcome.”

He continued: “No matter how much they ‘show up’ for queer rights now, I know they don’t respect me or any other queer people as their equal. It’s nice to be reminded that I was right, and that this shameful behavior is always there, right below the surface. Resign @alex_delany. Today.”

Delany did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Also on June 9, offensive tweets from Matt Duckor, a vice president at Condé Nast who previously oversaw Bon Appétit’s video content, surfaced online.

Noah Adams, a Twitter user who argued that diversity was “just a joke” to Condé Nast and who started a petition calling for “an independent outside investigation into racial inequality” at the company, unearthed screenshots of Duckor’s tweets in which he made racist and homophobic jokes.

In the tweets, Duckor described working out (and listening to John Mayer) as “so gay” and joked about the presence of “black people and Asian same-sex couples” in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, Insider’s Rachel Greenspan reported. 
Duckor, the head of programming for lifestyle and style at Condé Nast, apologized in a statement posted to Twitter that afternoon.

“My words were inappropriate and hurtful. At the time, I thought I was making a joke — but even my 20-year-old self should have seen that the remarks weren’t remotely funny,” he wrote. “I’m ashamed and I realize that I’ve cast doubt on my present-day values, and weakened the voice behind my calls for systemic change and inclusivity for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ employees.” 

The tweets are no longer publicly available, as his account has since been set to private. 

On the evening of June 9, Business Insider’s Rachel Premack published an article that had been in the works before the recent controversies in which 14 Bon Appétit employees and contributors described a “toxic” environment for people of color at the publication.

Premack reported that over a dozen former and current contributors and employees of Bon Appétit, all of whom identified as people of color, felt that nonwhite employees were socially and professionally “slighted” at the outlet.

Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, who worked as Rapoport’s assistant for over two years, told Business Insider that she never received a pay increase on her $35,300 annual base salary. Upon asking Rapoport for a raise, she said, he suggested that the position at Bon Appétit might “not be the right job” for her.

“I am the only Black woman on his staff,” Walker-Hartshorn said. “He treats me like the help.”

Other employees told Business Insider that issues at the company extended beyond Rapoport’s insensitivity — the institution, they said, treated people of color as “second class” to white employees. This took the form of less lucrative contracts for people of color in the video space, excluding nonwhite employees from various “social and professional groups,” and underrepresenting (or even misrepresenting) stories from nonwhite backgrounds, they said.

“There is a big difference in terms of how they monetarily value the white employees versus the people of color,” Sohla El-Waylly, whose Instagram stories about her experience with the company previously went viral, told Business Insider.

A representative from Condé Nast responded to several of the allegations made by employees and circulating on social media, telling Business Insider that the company was “listening and are taking seriously the concerns raised” by Bon Appétit employees.

The representative also said the company was “accelerating” its Diversity and Inclusion report, set to be published this summer, along with a pay-equity analysis to be published at the end of 2020.

In an email to Business Insider, Rapoport denied the accusations that the now-infamous photo was an example of brownface. “On the record: I was not wearing makeup or face coloring of any sort in that photograph,” he wrote. Walker-Hartshorn said Rapoport kept a framed copy of the photo in his desk. 

On June 10, the Bon Appétit senior food editor Andy Baraghani responded to Alex Delany’s offensive Vine — only to himself be called out on Twitter with accusations of problematic behavior.

In a series of Instagram stories, Baraghani responded to Delany’s video, writing that the clip was “hurtful and triggering and all too familiar.”

In a follow-up story, he added that he reached out to his queer colleagues at Bon Appétit to discuss the video and “assess what is actionable and what is valid.” Delaney, he said, “will have to respond to that video on his own.”

He went on to say he’s “not one to put someone on blast to millions of people” and hoped to “have a dialogue.”

Baraghani, however, was immediately accused of microaggressions of his own. One Twitter user reposted screenshots of the Instagram stories and said Baraghani had attempted to cut “multiple projects” by a female Korean American colleague.
In series of tweets, the former Bon Appétit staffer Alyse Whitney accused Baraghani of trying to shelve her profile of the “Queer Eye” star Antoni Porowski because of what she said were his own “petty feelings” toward Porowski. 

“This was the second time that andy used his popularity to sway editorial decisions and undercut my work,” she wrote. “Both times he went directly to my editor to try and kill a story based on petty feelings about antoni porowski. he never spoke to me about it. both times i cried at my desk.”

Bon Appetit appears to have published two articles from Whitney on Porowski. 
Baraghani didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.

On June 10, Matt Duckor left Condé Nast.

An email from Condé Nast Entertainment’s president, Oren Katzeff, obtained by Business Insider’s Rachel Premack, confirmed that Duckor, who was the head of video for Bon Appétit and other Condé Nast brands such as Architectural Digest and Vogue, had left the company.

Katzeff said an interim replacement would be announced “as soon as possible.”

The change in leadership followed criticism of Duckor’s past racist and homophobic tweets as well as reports that he failed to diversify Bon Appétit’s video content to include nonwhite talent.

Katzeff’s email thanked employees for their “honesty and candor” over the past few days.

“We’ve already started the process of reviewing our practices and over the next week we’ll be bringing forward a plan of action centered on diversity and inclusion,” he wrote. “We’ll be working with you in the key areas we need to improve — our talent selection and hiring (both in front of and behind the camera), our programming strategy, pilot development, our compensation practices, and more.”

Condé Nast and Duckor did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. 

On June 10, a statement was posted to the Bon Appétit website titled “A Long-Overdue Apology, and Where We Go From Here.”

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“We, the staffs of Bon Appétit and Epicurious, want to address our readers, contributors, and peers in light of Adam Rapoport’s resignation as editor in chief,” the statement, which was cross-posted to Instagram, began. “The deeply offensive photo circulating of Adam is horrific on its own, but also speaks to the much broader and longstanding impact of racism at these brands.”

The post went on to say the company had been complicit in a culture that the staff did “not agree with” and was committing to change. After consistently covering stories, recipes, and people from a “white-centric viewpoint,” treating nonwhite narratives as being “not newsworthy or trendy,” and tokenizing staff members and contributors of color, the company said it would seek to “accelerate” career advancement and pay for employees of color.

“We haven’t properly learned from or taken ownership of our mistakes,” the statement said. “But things are going to change.”

To make Bon Appétit and Epicurious “inclusive, just, and equitable,” the post said, the company will be “prioritizing people of color for the editor in chief candidate pool, implementing anti-racism training for staff, and resolving any pay inequities that are found across all departments.”

Ultimately, the statement said, the company’s editorial mission is to “better acknowledge, honor, and amplify BIPOC voices” — an acronym referring to Black, indigenous, and people of color — by hiring more freelancers of color and investing in them, centering contributions of marginalized people in coverage, addressing appropriation in recipe development processes, auditing previously published work, and vetting subjects of coverage.

“This is just the start,” the post concluded. “We want to be transparent, accountable, and active as we begin to dismantle racism at our brands.”

On June 11, Christina Chaey, an associate editor at Bon Appétit who appeared in Test Kitchen YouTube videos, revealed that she had not been compensated for her video work.

In an Instagram post, Chaey noted that she was “one of a handful of non-white faces” involved in the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen.

Like her colleague Sohla El-Waylly, Chaey said, she never received “a single dollar” for her video appearances — nor did she receive a “merit raise” or promotion in three years at the publication. 

Chaey added that she’s only beginning to unpack why she hadn’t felt “empowered to ask for more.”

“I’m also starting to reckon with my place in a brand that has upheld the toxic culture of white power in old media,” she wrote, “including my complicity in a system that made me believe I should feel lucky that I got a seat at their table.”
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Fans and colleagues rallied around Chaey in the comments section.

“Love you, work wife,” Andy Baraghani, a senior food editor at the publication, wrote.

“Proud of your words,” Molly Baz, another senior food editor, commented. 

Actress Aidy Bryant and SNL newcomer Bowen Yang also commented on the post, adding heart emojis. 

A representative from Condé Nast told Insider that it is “simply not true to suggest that employees are not compensated for their video work.”

“As full-time employees,” the representative said, “they are paid a salary and receive benefits.”

Several hours later, Bon Appétit contributing editor and Test Kitchen star Claire Saffitz promised to “make amends” and “repair” things at the outlet.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Saffitz wrote that she had spent the past few days “searching for words” to address the situation to her colleagues and Bon Appétit viewers. Ultimately, she said, she rejected the advice she’d been given in order to avoid re-sharing the “trite and hollow” promises about “doing better.”

“The point of this post is not to perform an apology or save face, it’s not about view counts or likes,” she wrote. “It’s about complicity and accountability.”

As an employee, she said, she was aware of some of the “toxic, racist, secret, and ultra-competitive” environment at Bon Appétit, but she also “missed a lot.”

“I should have seen it earlier and used my platform and clout to push back against leadership,” she wrote, adding that her privilege helped her “enter and succeed in a toxic system.”

Saffitz went on to say that she didn’t “ask questions” about her colleagues’ compensation when inviting them to appear in her Gourmet Makes videos.

While she “feels sh—–” about her actions, she said, her feelings are not the priority — rather, she will focus on how she can “do the work of repair.”

“I only hope that through sustained learning/unlearning/relearning I can better show up for people I deeply respect,” she concluded. 
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On June 14, senior food editor Andy Baraghani weighed in on the controversy, apologizing for being “too focused” on his own career to properly elevate the voices of his BIPOC colleagues.

In an Instagram post, Baraghani wrote that the past week’s events and emerging stories about the “toxic work culture” at Bon Appétit had encouraged him to “re-examine” his workplace behavior and privilege. 

“I am a person of color and I am gay, but I have benefited in ways that my non-white counterparts have not,” he said. “I’ve been wondering, how could I have amplified the voices of my BIPOC colleagues more?”

Baraghani continued, writing that he’d been asking himself how he could better advocate for his colleagues moving forward. 
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The post also elaborated on the situation regarding employees’ compensation for appearing in videos on the Bon Appétit YouTube channel.

When he began appearing in videos over three years ago, Baraghani explained, there were “no talks” about contracts or receiving additional pay. Rather, appearing in videos was “an expected part of the job.” In January of 2020, however, he secured a contract after “months of negotiation” to start receiving pay for video appearances.

Baraghani admitted to being “too focused” on his own path and navigating “a f—– up system within Condé” while his colleagues had to “work harder to be given the same opportunities.”

He added that he’d “had conversations” with those colleagues — specifically, with one “former coworker” who he did not name — and taken “full responsibility” for his behavior that undermined their work. 

While it’s unclear what incident Baraghani was referring to, he was called out on Twitter days earlier for undermining former Bon Appétit staffer Alyse Whitney, who accused him of attempting to shelve her profile of the “Queer Eye” star Antoni Porowski.

Baraghani concluded the post by voicing his desire to “be open” and “to listen.”

“I know that the team we have right now is aligned in moving forward to a more meaningful, more inclusive, and equal next chapter,” he wrote. 

A Bon Appétit video editor was suspended in late June, and some employees theorized that it was over social media posts critical of the company.

On June 25, Business Insider’s Rachel Premack reported that Condé Nast suspended a Bon Appétit video editor, Matt Hunziker, “pending investigation” by the company. A Condé Nast representative said in a statement provided to Business Insider that “there have been many concerns raised about Matt that the company is obligated to investigate and he has been suspended until we reach a resolution.”

The representative did not provide details as to what brought about the suspension, nor did then-Condé Nast Entertainment president Oren Katzeff address the reasoning during a staff meeting, Premack reported.

On June 12, Hunziker tweeted, “Why would we hire someone who’s not racist when we could simply [checks industry handbook] uhh hire a racist and provide them with anti-racism training…”
Premack reported that three Condé Nast Entertainment and Bon Appétit employees told Business Insider that they believe Hunziker was suspended over social media posts critical over the company. Others, including Bon Appétit contributor Priya Krishna, editorial assistant Jesse Sparks, assistant editor Sohla El-Waylly, and research director Joseph Hernandez critiqued the company’s decision to suspend Hunziker.

Current and former Condé Nast employees said that Black celebrities were rejected from videos via a ‘racist’ vetting process.

Business Insider’s Rachel Premack reported on July 2 that current and former employees said that a “scale check” process used to evaluate video pitches against historical data led to the rejection of Black celebrities like Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion for video appearances. 13 current and former employees said that the process led to the rejection of pitches focused on nonwhite communities.

Premack also reported that some employees said it led to chefs of color at Bon Appétit being sidelined in largely uncompensated video appearances while white coworkers were given more lucrative hosting gigs.

On August 6, three Bon Appétit chefs of color announced that they were leaving its video channel after failed contract negotiations.

Bon Appétit contributing writer Priya Krishna, contributing food editor Rick Martinez, and assistant food editor Sohla El-Waylly told Business Insider’s Rachel Premack that they would no longer appear in Bon Appétit videos, with each making the announcement on their personal social media. 
After five weeks of contract negotiations, Krishna and Martinez told Business Insider that they were offered contracts that would result in a pay cut for Martinez and a slight bump for Krishna, but still would ultimately leave them being paid less than white counterparts. El-Waylly told Business Insider that when she received a new version of her contract on June 8, it offered a $20,000 raise to her $60,000 salary, which El-Waylly said she was “insulted and appalled” by given that other BA stars were said to earn much more in per-episode fees over time.

As of August 6, Premack reported that negotiations were still ongoing for everyone at the company, with the exception of Krishna, Martinez, and El-Waylly.

“With this company, it’s just mind-boggling,” Martinez told Business Insider. “The only thing I can work out in my head is that the sanctity of the institution is more important than some of the people who work there.”

On August 7, Bon Appétit senior food editor Molly Baz announced that she would no longer appear in Bon Appétit videos.

Bon Appétit senior food editor Molly Baz announced on Twitter on August 7, that she would no longer appear in Bon Appétit videos after El-Waylly, Krishna, and Martinez’s departures from video the day before.

“I’m sad. I’m disappointed. I’m frustrated along with all of you. Yesterday we lost three valuable members of our video team,” Baz wrote in a statement that she published on Twitter. “I support their decisions unequivocally and am extremely disheartened that Condé Nast Entertainment was unable to provide them contracts that they feel were fair and equitable.”
In her statement, Baz said that she has asked Condé Nast Entertainment to release her from the video obligations in her contract, saying that she will no longer appear in videos but will continue working on the magazine’s editorial side.

“I sincerely hope for the sake of a brand and a group of people I deeply love, that a diverse and inclusive video program is coming,” Baz wrote.

On August 8, Test Kitchen manager Gaby Melian announced that she would not be signing a contract to appear in videos.

In an Instagram post, Melian wrote that she was “really proud and happy” for her coworkers and that she “respected” their recent decisions.

After “weeks of negotiations,” she explained, she did not feel that Condé Nast Entertainment had met her expectations regarding promises to create “a more diverse and inclusive video program.” As a result, she said, she would not be appearing in videos.

Melian will, however, continue to work as the Test Kitchen manager. 
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On August 10, Bon Appétit drinks editor Alex Delany issued a lengthy apology on Instagram.

After weeks of silence online, Delany addressed his past social-media posts  — and his current role at the magazine — in a series of notes posted to Instagram. 

“When I was in high school and college, I wrote and said things that were racist, homophobic, and sexist on the internet,” he said. “I want to be clear that it isn’t anything less than those things. There is no grey area. That’s what they were. And for those things I said and wrote, I am incredibly sorry.”

Delany went on to acknowledge that he spoke “callously and disrespectfully” — behavior, he says, that was a symptom of “what male privilege that [he] didn’t see.”

Delany also said that while he had “changed since high school and college,” he still has work to do. 

“I’m committed to putting even more distance between myself and that person. As a human being. As a writer. As an editor. As a citizen. And as a colleague,” he wrote.
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In a second Instagram post, the 27-year-old addressed the online speculation surrounding the history of his employment at Bon Appétit. He urged followers to “consider the validity of information and sources before taking tweets, articles, Reddit posts, and opinions as absolute truth” — noting that he is not, in fact, worth $8 million, as one website suggested. 

Delany went on to clarify that his career at Condé Nast began with an internship at the media company’s DETAILS Magazine. He was then hired as an assistant production manager at BA in 2014 at a salary of $35,000. After taking on what he says were unpaid writing roles for two years, he was offered a job as an assistant web editor, then as an associate editor. In 2019, he said, he was given the chance to oversee drinks coverage “without a raise or a promotion.”

His current salary, he says, is $76,000 per year for video and editorial work. 
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While proud of his work, Delany says that his post is not meant to imply that he did not have an advantage in the workplace.

“That privilege is not lost on me,” he wrote. “I walked an easier path. And looking back, I should have done more to use my privilege to make sure that the voices being heard less frequently at BA were being amplified and included.”

Moving forward, Delany says he hopes to be a part of necessary change at the publication.

“I made it clear to my colleagues that I’m here to help wherever the staff needs me,” he wrote. “In whatever way I can facilitate change and evolution at a brand that means so much to so many people, a brand that represents hope and potential for the small businesses, personalities, and people that feed us in more ways than one.”

On August 10, Bon Appétit video editor Matt Hunziker returned to work after a suspension

On August 10, Bon Appétit video editor Matt Hunziker returned to work after he was suspended in late June, Business Insider’s Rachel Premack reported. A Condé Nast representative said that his suspension was due to internal “concerns,” which were not detailed. 

However, some employees at Bon Appétit and Condé Nast Entertainment told Business Insider in June that they believed that Hunziker’s suspension was due to his social media posts, which were critical of the company. 

Some employees told Business Insider that they worried about the message that Hunziker’s suspension sent. According to several current staffers, leaders have said in at least one meeting that speaking out in support of Hunziker was not allowed.

“Matt was not placed on leave due to social media posts about diversity or anti-racism,” a representative for Condé Nast said in a statement. “Accordingly, the company informed employees that speculation regarding his paid leave was inaccurate, unfair to Matt, and contrary to the company’s desire to protect employee privacy and ensure a fair investigation.”

On August 12, Carla Lalli Music announced that she would be leaving Bon Appétit video.

Lalli Music, the publication’s food editor-at-large and a staple of Bon Appétit’s YouTube channel, took to Twitter to announce her departure from the video team, explaining that she had requested to be released from her contract with Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE) contract.

“CNE is still — to this day — unable or unwilling to articulate specific, measurable goals about diversity and inclusion among BA hosts, crew, show topics, or recipe selection. We waited and waited for nothing,” she wrote. “I have been supported and rewarded for my work. My BIPOC co-hosts were not. There’s no way I can go back to video amid all these failures.”

Lalli Music added that she is “grateful” for the chance to stand behind her BIPOC colleagues amid calls for change at the publication. 

While she will continue to serve as an editor, she said, she will also “continue this fight internally.”
 

On August 15, Bon Appétit editor at large Amiel Stanek announced that he would no longer appear in videos

In an August 15 Instagram post, Bon Appétit editor at large Amiel Stanek announced that he would no longer appear in videos.

“Earlier this week, I asked to be released from my video contract with Condé Nast Entertainment. Honestly y’all, I’m f—ing exhausted, so I’ll keep this brief,” he wrote. “I feel let down and disappointed in a lot of ways. I also feel a lot of gratitude and hope for the future. To all my BA video people: I love you, I miss you, I see you, I trust you. Here’s to what’s next.”

Bon Appétit named Simon & Schuster VP Dawn Davis as its new editor-in-chief

Dawn Davis, currently a vice president at Simon & Schuster where she presides over 37 ink, an imprint that prioritizes diverse voices and stories, was named as Bon Appétit’s new editor-in-chief in August. 

“A proven trailblazer in publishing and known for her innovative approach, Dawn’s ability to find emerging voices and give them the platforms to transform our society is unparalleled,” Roger Lynch, CEO of Condé Nast, said in a statement.

Davis will start as editor-in-chief on November 2. She told The New York Times that she “will lead by example and treat people the way I’ve always been treated, which is with respect, and give everyone an opportunity to shine.”

Davis is replacing former editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport, who stepped down amid allegations of a toxic workplace environment and after food and wine writer Tammie Teclemariam tweeted an old photo of Rapoport in brownface.

In September, Sohla El-Waylly launched a show on the Babish Culinary Universe YouTube channel called “Stump Sohla”

After leaving Bon Appétit Video following failed contract negotiations, Sohla El-Waylly has her own show titled “Stump Sohla,” which is released on the Babish Culinary Universe (previously Binging with Babish) YouTube channel.

The game-style show presents El-Waylly with a dish and a specific challenge, determined by spinning a wheel. In the show’s first episode, she cooked mac & cheese in an 18th-century style, making noodles by hand and cooking over an open flame.

El-Waylly told Deadline that she is “excited for my new show, not only do I get to spin a giant wheel (what!) but no matter where it lands I know we’re gonna have a good time! The wheel’s got some wild things going on, and I can’t wait to try it all—cook one-handed, light stuff on fire, and even try to beat the Babish himself!”

Read more:

Bon Appétit’s editor in chief just resigned — but staffers of color say there’s a ‘toxic’ culture of microaggressions and exclusion that runs far deeper than one man

The internet is rallying behind Bon Appétit’s Sohla El-Waylly after she accused the publication of pay inequity

Adam Rapoport’s assistant of nearly 3 years gives an up-close view of the fallen editor in chief — and how Bon Appétit failed its staffers of color

3 Bon Appétit Test Kitchen stars are walking, in a sign that Condé Nast’s burgeoning YouTube empire will never be the same

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