Bon Appétrouble




Background


Conde Nast is an international company that produces some of the biggest names in a wide range of media, from Vogue to Bon Appetit. In recent years they’ve garnered somewhat of a monopoly on Youtube. As Youtube culture shifted from random home videos to high-quality productions, considerable space was made for big companies like Conde Nast to come in. Now, over 45 million subscribers belong to youtube channels that are under their control. Some of these channels may ring a bell: Vogue, Wired, GQ, Architectural Digest, Pitchfork, and Bon Appetit. More recently, Bon Appetit has been in the spotlight. Before, people loved their interesting work environment and unique cooking videos, but at this point in time Bon Appetit is currently trying to put out an internal fire. As many social justice movements like Black Lives Matter have rightfully taken the forefront, many companies are being introspective and trying to repair their work environment. Bon Appetit’s downfall when they tried to do the same.


Timeline


The beginning


May 31st: Bon Appetit releases a statement showing their support for BIPOC and Black chefs/businesses.


June 4th: Illyanna Maisonet, Puerto Rican chef and writer, voices her negative opinion on BA’s performativity, outlining her experiences working with the magazine’s editors who rejected her story on diasporic customs for a euro-centric article.


Bon Appetit Week


June 8th: A photo of Adam Rapport in brown face resurfaces with a caption from his wife saying “#TBT me and my Papi”. Early in the day, chefs Priya Krishna, Sohla El- Waylly, Carla Lalli Music, and Joseph Hernandez all speak out. Sohla gained lots of attention because in her response she outlines the mistreatment that she and other workers of color faced on the video team, including under-compensation. Rapoport resigns later that day.


June 9th: Alex Delaney’s, editor and test kitchen chef, Tumblr is exposed with a photo of a confederate flag cake he made for a friend as well as misogynistic list posts. After his Tumblr is exposed, an old vine of him using a homophobic slur resurfaces.


June 10th: Senior Food editor, Andy Baraghani speaks out against Delaney, outlining how harmful and triggering the video was. In his statement, he also states “I’m aware of what I can do for my POC and LGBTQ+ family...There is more to be done”. In speaking out against his colleague, Andy unknowingly opened himself up to criticism and his role in the workplace. Later that day, former staff writer Alyse Whitney releases a series of tweets talking about her experience with Andy and the two instances in which he went over her head to address her articles.


June 11th: Christina Chaey, an associate editor for BA, reveals that she has not been compensated for her videos appearances, only further confirming what Sohla has stated and outlining the harmful work environment that Conde Nast and Bon Appetit have bred.


The Aftermath


As of now, Bon Appetit has lost 7 chefs from their video team. They have also added 10 new chefs to their video team, almost all of which are people of color. Replacing Adam Rapoport is Dawn Davis, founder and publisher of 37 ink, a publication that tries to emphasize marginalized voices. Robert J. Lynch, Conde Nast Chief Director, says that with his choice of Davis he hopes to prove their commitment to diversity and inclusion. There really has been no resolution with Bon Appetite’s situation, the new chefs that were just mentioned were only introduced as of October 12th. Mant fans and home chefs, including me, are unsure how to feel about this. Although it seems like Bon Appetit is trying to make positive changes, it is too early to tell if they’ll actually make concrete changes. Although I’d like to be optimistic, Conde Nast has a long history with a lack of diversity and microaggressions against workers of color.