American food and entertainment magazine Bon Appétit is facing harsh criticism for its treatment and compensation of its POC workers following a reveal by staff member Sohla El-Waylly of her pay compared to her white counterparts.
For her over 15-year experience in the culinary field, she only made $50,000 as an “assistant editor” to editors “with significantly less experience” during her 10 months at the company, as reported by E News.
Her other colleagues at Condé Nast can make just over $100,000 in comparison, as reported by The New York Times.
This comes after Sohla called for the resignation of Editor in Chief of Bon Appétit Adam Rapoport, whose Halloween photo depicted brown face was unearthed and has since been taken down from his Instagram. The photo showed the former editor and chief and his wife, Simone Shubuck, in stereotypical Puerto Rican attire.
— chez tammie (@tammieetc) June 8, 2020
“This is just a system of the systematic racism that runs rampant within CondeNast as a whole,” El-Waylly wrote in an Instagram story. She demanded that BIPOC be given fair titles, salaries, and compensation for video appearances.
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
Brooklyn-based Somali cook Hawa Hassan said she had not worked with the company since last October, posting on Instagram that she made only $400 per video appearance. El-Waylly said she has also been featured in videos as a show of diversity. The company is wildly known for its food videos on YouTube, gaining over six million subscribers.
Other people of color within Bon Appétit have voiced mistreatment and tokenization from the company, accusing it of fostering an environment of racism. Publisher Condé Nast has denied these accusations.
The company had tweeted reaffirming their commitment to diversity, without specifically addressing the person and allegations they had brought forth.
As a global media company, Condé Nast is dedicated to creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace. We have a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination and harassment in any forms. (1/2)
— Condé Nast (@CondeNast) June 9, 2020
New York video editor Matt Hunziker tweeted in a thread that change unfortunately would only come from criticism in the community.
Many BIPOC & Queer employees and contributors have worked with patience and compassion that has not been given to them in return. The “learning and growing” apologies don’t apply here. Leadership has been routinely told what needs to happen. It’s a matter of priority/lack thereof https://t.co/vnv8IXKEMD
— Matt Hunziker (@matthunzi) June 8, 2020
“The way writers/chefs of color have been taken advantage of is as gross as it is obvious,” he wrote. “Glaring tokenization aside, there’s been an appalling inability to address the failure to meaningfully include and support Black voices.”
Contributor Priya Krishna called for accountability from Bon Appétit.
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
“It erases the work the BIPOC on staff have long been doing, behind the scenes,” she wrote.
Former Bon Appétit photographer Alex Lau tweeted that he left because of the white leadership’s refusal for change.
yes, I left BA for multiple reasons, but one of the main reasons was that white leadership refused to make changes that my BIPOC coworkers and I constantly pushed for.
— Alex Lau (@iamnotalexlau) June 8, 2020
Rapoport has since stepped down from his position, posting an apology on his Instagram, saying that he needed to do work as a “human being” and reflect on his choices within the company.
View this post on Instagram
“It’s been at the expense of Bon Appétit and its staff, as well as our readers. They all deserve better,” he wrote.
Matt Duckor, the head of programming, lifestyle and style at Condé Nast, also took to Twitter to demand that all those who appeared “on camera be compensated accordingly.”
At BA and as a start, that will mean I demand that everyone appearing on camera be compensated accordingly for their work immediately.
There is so much work to do here and it starts today.
— Matt Duckor (@mattduckor) June 9, 2020
It’s not the first time Bon Appétit as gotten criticism from the BIPOC community. In 2016, the magazine released a video in which a white chef explained how to eat the popular Vietnamese dish Pho.
Feature Images via @sohlae