Bon Appétit’s Editor in Chief Resigns After Brownface Photo Sets Off Discrimination Complaints
- The Editor in Chief of Bon Appétit, Adam Rapoport, resigned after a photo of him in brownface resurfaced, and staff members spoke out about diversity issues at the magazine.
- Assistant Editor Sohla El-Waylly said she was underpaid to be an assistant editor to white editors who had less experience than her.
- She also said that white editors are paid for their video appearances on Bon Appétit’s YouTube Channel, but editors of color are not.
- While Bon Appétit has denied the video compensation claim, many Bon Appétit staff members pledged not to film content for the outlet until substantial change are made at the publication.
Editor in Chief Resigns
Bon Appétit’s Editor in Chief Adam Rapoport resigned Monday after a photo of him in brownface resurfaced on Twitter, prompting staff members to speak out against discrimination at the publication.
“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 Bon Appétit to get to a better place,” Rapoport said in a statement on Instagram. “From an extremely ill-conceived Halloween costume 16 years ago to my blind spots as an editor, I’ve not championed an inclusive vision.”
“[The staff and readers] all deserve better. The staff has been working hard to evolve the brand in a positive, more diverse direction,” he added.
A photo of Rapoport in brownface for a halloween costume made its way around Twitter on Monday.
This came a few days after the magazine was called out by Puerto Rican food writer Illyanna Maisonet for not including diverse cuisine, particularly Puerto Rican. She tweeted that a pitch of her’s was rejected and a European inspired dish was instead published. This prompted an online discussion about the magazine’s general lack of diverse recipes, especially after Maisonet shared DMs sent to her by Rapoport, where he said the outlet was sticking to something “accessible.”
Staff Members Speak Out
Bon Appétit, which is owned by Condé Nast, boasts a strong readership in its print and digital magazine and has a strong presence on Youtube. Its channel, where staff members appear in videos testing recipes, has 6 million subscribers.
Once the photo was shared, many Bon Appétit staff members spoke out against Rapoport and shared their stories of discrimination at the company.
“I am angry and disgusted by the photo of @rapoport in brown face. I have asked for his resignation,” assistant editor Sohla El-Waylly said on her Instagram story. “This is just a symptom of the systematic racism that runs rampant within the Condé Nast as a whole.”
El-Waylly claimed that she is paid $50,000 to be an assistant editor to mainly white editors with less experience than her. She claimed that she is pushed to appear in the popular videos on Bon Appétit’s YouTube channel as a “display of diversity.”
“In reality, currently only white ediors are paid for their video appearances. None of the people of color have been compensated,” she claimed.
A spokesperson for Bon Appétit denied the allegations that people of color were not compensated to the Washington Post.
“It would be inaccurate to report that only white people were paid for video appearances,” she said. “We have a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination and harassment in any forms. We go to great lengths to ensure that employees are paid fairly, in accordance with their roles and experience, across the entire company.”
Still, many other members of the Bon Appétit staff joined in on condemning Rapoport and sharing their experiences. Contributor Priya Krishna, who often appears on Bon Appétit’s YouTube channel, shared the photo on her Twitter, saying it “erases the work the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) on staff have long been doing, behind the scenes.”
Former staff photographer Alex Lau claimed he left the company because of its diversity issues.
“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,” he said on Twitter.
“What made me want to leave was when I saw that year after year, I was only shooting asian and white chefs,” he continued. “As an asian american, it is NOT enough to shoot asian restaurants and call it a day. Asians are no longer marginalized in the restaurant/food industry, as much as BA would like to think that.”
He claimed he urged the magazine to do pieces on African cuisine, but that they often pushed those suggestions aside by claiming the recipes were complicated and that readers would not want to make them.
YouTube Personalities Vow to Not Make New Content
Personalities from Bon Appétit’s YouTube channel quickly spoke out against the photo as well.
“I will fight to foster equality and justice in our workplace and recognize that as a white person I have personally benefited from our flawed system,” wrote Senior food editor Molly Baz. “I will do better for all the staffers at Bon Appétit magazine who haven’t had that privilege.”
She then pledged to not appear in any Bon Appétit videos until her BIPOC colleagues received equal pay. She encouraged her other co-workers to join her.
Many others did, including Alex Delany and Chris Morocco, who shared Baz’s post expressing their support. Claire Saffitz also said she asked the magazine to not air any of the videos she has already made, and said she will not film any more until there is progress made.
“I also acknowledge my implicit acceptance of the status quo at Bon Appetit Magazine, and therefore my participation in maintaining it,” she wrote. “I am calling for change.”
Other personalities like Andy Baraghani, Carla Lalli Music, and Brad Leone also supported this movement.
“I want my BIPOC colleagues to know that I support them. Everyone should be fairly compensated and respected for their work,” Leone wrote on Instagram.
“I am working towards being a better agent for change and hold Condé Nast to the same standard.” he added.
See what others are saying: (Washington Post) (USA Today) (NPR)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Associated Press) (People)
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.