Three Bon Appetit chefs – all people of color – resign from BA’s video production

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In June, a racist debacle happened at Bon Appetit, the food magazine and food content-video channel/social media. I covered it all at the time, but here are the basics, and it all happened within a three-day newscycle: Bon Appetit’s editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport used to do “brownface” to dress up like a “Puerto Rican” for some reason, and as it turns out, he wasn’t paying BIPOC for their labor on Bon Appetit videos, but he was paying all of the (less talented and less experienced) white chefs/cooks for their appearances in videos. All of that PLUS Bon Appetit is a lot like other white-chef-centric food-media, in that they blatantly copy other cultures’ cuisines and then put their own white spiceless spin on those dishes.

So all of that happened and then BA chef Sohla El-Waylly – who had appeared in countless BA videos – resigned from BA with a scathing series of social media posts, saying that she had never been paid for those videos. Rapoport resigned within 24 hours and the white people left at Bon Appetit promised to do better and promised to start paying brown and black chefs properly for their labor and all of that. Well, two months have passed. How is it going? Have they dismantled white supremacy in elitist food culture yet? Nope.

Two months after Bon Appétit’s top editor resigned under pressure amid complaints of racial insensitivity, three journalists of color said they would no longer participate in the magazine’s popular video series. Two of the journalists accused Condé Nast, the magazine’s parent company, of failing to offer them pay that was commensurate to that of their white colleagues.

The three journalists, Sohla El-Waylly, Priya Krishna and Rick Martinez, announced their decisions Thursday in statements on their Instagram accounts.

“After five weeks of contract negotiations,” Mr. Martinez wrote, “it is clear that I will not get a fair pay rate nor will I get a comparable number of appearances to my colleagues in the test kitchen. Nor would anyone share with me the specifics of the diversity and inclusivity initiatives in video that they claim to be working on.”

The three indicated that they have not left the magazine, whose masthead lists Ms. El-Waylly as an assistant food editor, Ms. Krishna as a contributing writer and Mr. Martinez as a contributing food editor. (“Contributing” workers at Condé Nast are contractors, rather than staff employees; Ms. Krishna has contributed frequently to the Food section of The New York Times.)

[From The NY Times]

I have no idea how much money a Bon Appetit-branded YouTube or Instagram video would bring in for the company, but I suspect that’s not the f–king point, especially considering that BA has no problem paying white chefs fairly. Oh, and not only is BA without an EIC right now – Rapoport left in June and there is not a permanent EIC right now – but their head of programming also stepped down. His name is Matt Duckor and he was also very much responsible for the system of forcing journalists of color to do unpaid labor for BA videos.

Priya Krishna’s statement can be read in full below – she says that the contract she was offered would have seen her paid less than she was making already. Rick Martinez says the same. Again, what is Conde Nast’s problem? They could have been minting money on online content if only they PAID EVERYONE.

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Photos courtesy of Instagram.

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21 Responses to “Three Bon Appetit chefs – all people of color – resign from BA’s video production”

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  1. lola says:

    Wow, I really thought something would change for the better at BA… How naive of me.
    Honestly fuck BA and Conde Nast!

  2. Priscila says:

    I was already expecting this outcome, tbh. Disheartening, but not surprising. They overhype Morocco – who has not said a word that I know of-and BRad- who did the right thing- to extreme hights. They are both talented,l but not anywhere near BA hype. Morocco has no ” super powers” in his taste buds and he is always cooking uncomplicated, simple stuff. Claire is a darling and very good,. Is she al that? Not really, but she is very, very close to being a super chef and is invaluable to their brand.

    But Morocco and Delaney? please, they bring so little to the table- and yet, they had their own shows and do the bare minimum. Delaney is the worst, always making a point of not cooking correctly when he is asked to. Just go and check one of these videos they had where they challenged chefs to cook without measures- Delaney was embarrassing and purposely so.

    Sohla is the shit. Prya is a darling and Rick has much more to give.

    as for the channel, I do not think they get much revenue. They are on million views. This is like, dozens of thousands of dollars worth? But the point of the channel is really to advertise their brand.

    • Rural Juror says:

      Morocco actually has publicly expressed support for the BIPOC video hosts on his Instagram page and called for Adam Rappaport to resign. Priya was one of my favs, so I’m particularly sad to see her go as a video host. Agree about Delaney – there’s no reason he should be on camera as much as he is. He has no formal training (unlike everyone else) and he’s not even a recipe developer. He’s one of the beverage editors, so he doesn’t belong in the test kitchen at all, IMO. If he’s not getting paid for those appearances, I’ll be less salty about it, but I suspect that’s not the case.

    • Flamingo says:

      I am with you on Delaney. Every time I’d see him I would wonder how this overgrown frat boy fits into the mix. He always seemed like he was in way over his head especially in the challenge videos. He has no food background. I think he was hired because he’s a hip Brooklyn guy who can recommend mezcal brands no one has heard of and can throw a surprise ingredient into a classic cocktail. Those are kind of a dime a dozen in Brooklyn.

  3. Rural Juror says:

    I was hoping you guys would cover this. I’ve been following this story really closely from the beginning because I’m a longtime subscriber and fan of BA and it’s just so disappointing that Conde Nast wouldn’t agree to pay their BIPOC employees fairly for their video appearances. After everything that went down, I was hopeful that they would be willing to negotiate fair contracts for the BIPOC who appear regularly in Test Kitchen videos, but the powers that be appear to have learned nothing. I don’t expect other video hosts/ editors to quit in solidarity (they all have their own rent to pay), but the whole situation is just infuriating.

  4. Penguin says:

    Oh man, I’ll miss Rick so much. Not only is he an incredible chef (chocolate chip cookies and bacon carnitas, come on!), but he was also such a lovely presence. I had already assumed Sohla was going to go, but it’s no less sad as she was such a wonderful person to watch. Her videos were engaging, funny and very easy to follow if you want to try something yourself. I never thought Priya was that good of a chef or entertainer, but if she is forced to leave her workplace due to discrimination she’s experienced that is in no way acceptable. I’m glad they all stood up for themselves because they were working for an organization that obviously doesn’t do it for them. Hoping BA learns something from this.

    • Flamingo says:

      Sohla definitely deserves a show somewhere. I know she was previously on another YouTube channel, but I think she deserves more exposure. She is so knowledgeable and has a very warm personality. She also doesn’t take herself too seriously like some of the other talent (Molly).

      • TeamAwesome says:

        Sohla was on a Bingeing with Babish video about, of course, tempering chocolate. I’m not sure if this was pre or post that debacle, but I love her and hope she does her own series.

    • Esmom says:

      I”m gonna go out on a limb and say they won’t learn anything from this.

    • K says:

      Ditto to everything you said, Penguin.

      This is a big bummer, I have watched all of them in so many BA videos and now feel slightly betrayed because they seemed a lot happier as a group than they probably were.

  5. Lisa says:

    They will all be missed.

  6. LeonsMomma says:

    Condé Nast and it’s parent company Advance is top heavy with upper management who get paid the big bucks to do a whole lot of nothing. The Newhouse family also wants to maintain a certain style of living, too. So they don’t have the $$ to pay the people who actually work and make the magazine and brand happen.They also don’t have any BIPOC in upper management, so there is no one pushing hard for reform.

  7. SomeChick says:

    Conde Nasty strikes again.

    I remember when they bought Wired magazine. (Yes, I am an Old.) The quality really deteriorated. It’s like they want everything to be bland and expensive.

  8. michelle says:

    I wish Andy Baraghani (Iranian) would join his fellow BIPOC and leave that shitty toxic place. Through all of this, he hasn’t been mentioned much that I’ve seen anyway. Maybe he’s actually paid? Anyway, it’d be a nice show of solidarity.

    • goofpuff says:

      Yeah, except I think he thrives on the attention he gets in videos. I can’t see him giving that up for anything.

    • Penguin says:

      There was mention on Twitter by a previous BA employee, name escapes me, Andy was chummy with the top executives and translated this into more exposure for himself and pushing a personal vendetta against Antony Porowski from Queer Eye. She apparently was forced to leave due to the toxic environment this created (if I understood it right). So I think that in addition to issues with discrimination there is rampant cronyism going on in BA.

  9. lola says:

    Molly posted on IG that she won’t appear in the videos anymore. Great that she does that!

  10. goofpuff says:

    yeah. I’m done with BA. Their response has completely soured the brand for me now. I will follow where Priya, Sohla, and Rick go. I think they still work as editors, just no longer showing up on videos.

  11. Bunny says:

    I follow Sohla and several others, and was sort of expecting this. When Conde Nast goes down the tubes, I hope they understand that this was a huge contributing factor.

    I won’t buy their publications and will ad-block their websites.

    I’m committing to buying the cookbooks of any of these chefs, but not a single penny to Conde Nast.