NEW YORK—On Tuesday, June 9, the Editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit, Adam Rapoport, announced his resignation from the company. A photo of Rapoport in brownface began circulating via social media, followed by testimonials of his staff on his treatment of people of color.
On June 8, a freelance food journalist Tammie Teclemariam posted a 2013 Instagram picture of Rapoport. The caption read: “#TBT to me and my papi @rapo4 #boricua.” Boricua is a word used to refer to Puerto Ricans, especially those who live in the continental U.S.
— FIRE MATT DUCKOR (@tammieetc) June 8, 2020
Several Bon Appétit staffers expressed their anger and called for his resignation. Sohla El-Waylly spoke about the incident in her Instagram stories. She stated she is “angry and disgusted” at the photo that surfaced. She also said the photo was “a symptom of the systematic racism that runs rampant within the Condé Nast as a whole.”
Waylly claimed there was a difference in pay between White and other editors. White editors received compensation for their video appearances, while editors of color allegedly have not. She states she has 15 years of experience and was hired to work at the company as an assistant to “mostly white editors with significantly less experience.”
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
Rapoport announced his resignation via an Instagram post that read:
“I am stepping down as editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit to reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and to allow BA to get to a better place.” He also apologized for the “extremely ill-conceived” photo and for his “blind spots as an editor.”
On Thursday, June 10, the day after Rapoport’s resignation, staff from Bon Appétit and Epicurious issued a public statement that read:
“At times we have treated non-white stories as ‘not newsworthy’ or ‘trendy.’ Other times we have appropriated, co-opted, and Columbused them.” Staff apologized for their actions and set forth a plan to better at their publications.
“This is just the start. We want to be transparent, accountable, and active as we begin to dismantle racism at our brands,” the statement added.