- 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)
Tana Mongeau Seemingly Defends Talent Agency After Backlash
- YouTuber Tana Mongeau officially launched an influencer management division on Monday called Tana’s Angel’s Agency.
- She wrote on Instagram that she is regularly asked for advice about how to build a following on platforms like OnlyFans and said this new venture will allow her to help people break into the business.
- Mongeau quickly faced backlash from those who believe she is not qualified to teach people how to build an audience from the ground up and from others who think the agency is a “scam.”
- In response, Mongeau said she “hired an amazing team” of successful people and will only sign creators “that I truly feel I can benefit, and that I believe in & resonate with.”
Tana Mongeau Launches Management Division
YouTuber Tana Mongeau launched an influencer management agency on Monday named Tana’s Angels Agency.
The division is part of Unruly Agency, a social media marketing and management company owned by Tara Electra, who will be leading the launch alongside Mongeau and her manager, David Weintraub. Mongeau said she wants to use the agency to help aspiring content creators because when she was just starting out, she could have benefited from a mentor.
“Throughout my career I’ve been taken advantage of more times than I can count,” she previously told Us Weekly.”I am starting TAA to teach people how to not make the mistakes I made early on in my career.”
In a Monday Instagram post, Mongeau wrote that she regularly gets messages from people asking for advice about how to get started and make money on platforms like OnlyFans. Mongeau said that by starting this agency, she can now use her “experiences, platform, connections, knowledge and creativity” to help these small creators find her same success. She also said that the same people who helped her make millions of dollars on OnlyFans will be part of the TAA team.
“I brought on those people to TAA to finally be able to share their expertise, marketing knowledge, and much more with authentic creators I believe in- big, small, or starting today,” she wrote.
TAA Receives Backlash
However, this pursuit has not come without a fair amount of backlash. Many people have shared Mongeau’s tweet announcing TAA and criticized her for the venture. Among other things, many believe she is not qualified to teach people how to build a following from the ground up because she was already famous when she started her OnlyFans.
Others accused her of taking advantage of OnlyFans users and sex workers who are already struggling enough, while others accused her of being a pimp and running a scam.
Mongeau seems to be aware of some of this criticism, as she joked in a tweet early on Tuesday saying, “Someone commented ‘how she gon have a talent agency with no talent’ on my post i’m screaming.”
She then further explained the intent behind TAA.
“I hired an amazing team of lots of individuals who have helped me earn millions on OF and with other opportunities to help me alongside this project. I’m also only signing people onto Tana‘s Angels that I truly feel I can benefit, and that I believe in & resonate with.”
The backlash also does not seem to be slowing her down. Mongeau said that within the first 10 hours of the launch, 100,000 people applied to be part of TAA.
See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed News) (Daily Dot) (Us Weekly)
New Footage Shows YouTuber David Dobrik’s Role in Jeff Wittek’s Life-Threatening Accident
- The latest episode of YouTuber Jeff Wittek’s docuseries “Don’t Try This At Home” revealed that he sustained a serious facial injury last year while filming a dangerous stunt on an excavator that was operated by fellow creator David Dobrik.
- Dobrik said he wanted to make major stunt videos with his Vlog Squad as a return to YouTube amid the pandemic.
- For one stunt, Vlog Squad members hung onto a rope that was attached to an excavator in a lake while Dobrik swung them around. When Wittek was on the rope, he swung so fast that he crashed into the excavator and fell into the water face-down.
- Dobrik is now facing backlash online from people who are shocked that he endangered his friends’ lives for YouTube content.
Footage Show Dangerous Stunt Gone Wrong
Footage from the second episode of YouTuber Jeff Wittek’s series “Don’t Try This At Home” shows that David Dobrik was involved in the accident that left Witteck with serious face injuries last year.
Wittek had previously spoken about his injuries but never revealed the details behind what caused them. His latest episode, titled “How I Broke My Face,” was posted Wednesday night and answered many long-asked questions about the incident.
The video starts with Wittek and other Vlog Squad members discussing how the coronavirus pandemic shut the world down and paused the group’s ability to make videos together. Dobrik, one of the most popular creators on YouTube, said he wanted to make major stunt videos as their return to the platform.
For one of these stunts, Dobrik put an excavator in a lake that he said was roughly one foot deep. Dobrik then operated the machine as Vlog Squad members wakeboarded and surfed on the lake while attached to it, but they wanted to take things to the next level.
“I’m sitting there watching Todd wakesurf for hours and great, but we’re here trying to make a funny video,” Wittek explained. “If you want wakeboarding videos, go to Youtube and type ‘cool guy wake surfing’ and I’m sure you’ll see a ton of them.”
Members of the group then proceeded to hold onto a rope that was attached to the excavator while Dobrik operated it and swung them around the lake. Vlog Squadder Corinna Kopff was the first to give it a try but eventually asked to be taken down because it felt dangerous.
“You take things too far,” she said to Dobrik as she was hopping off the rope.
Wittek then opted to give it a try. He had just spent time skydiving with members of the Vlog Squad for a separate part of Dobrik’s return video, so he figured he could handle this seemingly easier stunt.
“So I grabbed the rope and I tried to make a goddamn funny video for people,” Wittek said. “But this is where I made a mistake. I forgot the biggest fucking idiot I knew was driving it.”
The footage then shows Wittek swinging incredibly fast into the excavator and then cuts to black. The next shot shows him falling face-down into the lake.
“Time literally slows down,” Dobrik said while describing the moment.
“The whole side of his face is just open,” Vlog Squadder Todd Smith added.
Dobrik Faces Backlash for “Reckless” Behavior
Dobrik trended on Twitter Thursday morning as people accused him of endangering Wittek’s life in the name of making YouTube content.
“David Dobrik needs to be stopped. He’s always been irresponsible at his friends expense for YOUTUBE videos,” one person wrote. “He COULD have been charged with manslaughter had Jeff been inches closer to the excavator.”
The comments on the video are filled with similar outrage.
“You’re lucky to be alive,” one YouTube user wrote. “I still can’t believe what I saw. It’s so reckless what he did to you and the extreme lengths and measures that people do at other people’s expenses just to get Youtube video views is insane.”
“It’s amazing David Dobrik hasn’t killed someone for a Youtube video yet,” another person added.
Major creators like Trisha Paytas, who has long been vocal about her issues with Dobrik and the Vlog Squad, also expressed her disgust at the video.
“The fact that he has Natalie THERE + three assistants , Meghan the pr fairy, and dumbass jack manager guy and not one person could get a stunt coordinator / medic for this is another level of negligence,” she said.
Dobrik’s Month of Scandals
So far, Dobrik has not responded to the wave of outrage. He has been facing intense criticism for the last month over his involvement with a separate issue with the Vlog Squad. Former member Dom Zegalitis, also known as Durte Dom, was accused in March of raping a woman who was too drunk to consent in 2018.
The alleged assault happened when the woman was with Dobrik’s Vlog Squad to film a video. The woman, who was under 21 at the time, said members of the group supplied her and her friends with alcohol.
Zeglaitis recently denied the rape allegation and said “as far as I am concerned, everything that occurred during the night in question was completely consensual.”
Dobrik released two videos addressing the incident, claiming he no longer associates with Zeglaitis and wants to take accountability for what happened in the Vlog Squad under his watch. He said he would be taking time away from the Internet to reevaluate the way he creates content.
Dobrik has lost major brand deals as a result of this controversy. He also had to step away from the social media app he founded, Dispo, following the accusation.
Mark Rober Faces Backlash Over NEXT For Autism Fundraiser
- YouTuber Mark Rober is facing backlash for hosting a star-studded fundraiser with Jimmy Kimmel for the charity NEXT for Autism.
- Rober announced the fundraiser in a video on Friday where he shared that his son is on the autism spectrum.
- Many online, including several people in the autistic community, said NEXT supports finding treatments and cures for autism, something the community does not believe in. Some also were frustrated that the group supports the controversial practice of Applied Behavioral Analysis, a therapy that targets and changes certain social skills..
- Following the criticism, NEXT released a statement saying it does not support finding a cure for autism and that while it does deal with ABA, the practice has changed over the years and it does not support dangerous variations.
Mark Rober’s Fundraiser Faces Backlash
YouTuber Mark Rober is facing backlash for an upcoming livestream fundraiser he is hosting with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to support NEXT for Autism.
The livestream, called Color the Spectrum, will be held on April 30 and will feature major television, film, and internet celebrities including MrBeast, Jack Black, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Andy Samberg, Paul Rudd, Mark Hamill, Sarah Silverman, Terry Crews, Rhett & Link, and John Oliver. Rober announced the event in a video on Friday titled “The Truth About My Son” where he revealed that his son is autistic. According to Rober’s donation tab on YouTube, the initiative has already brought in over $850,000 for NEXT for Autism.
While some people have applauded his efforts, others are slamming Rober, Kimmel, and the other stars participating in the event for aiding the organization. Many people in the autistic community believe that NEXT for Autism’s work does not help autistic people; rather, they claim it actually harms them.
On Twitter, many said the organization promotes and supports finding a “cure” for autism, something that many in the community do not believe in. NEXT is tied to a variety of groups, including Autism Speaks and The Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, which have been criticized for similar reasons.
While Autism Speaks has removed “cures” from its mission statement, the latter still says it is devoted to finding “treatments.” Many circulated a screenshot of a mission statement from CADB where prevention efforts were listed as a focus, as well; however, that no longer appears on its website.
Others were critical of NEXT’s support for a practice called Applied Behavioral Analysis, which is a therapy that targets and changes certain social skills. Some have described this as a “conversion therapy” for autistic people.
Additionally, people took issue with the fact that NEXT does not have a lot of autisic people on its board or working in leadership positions for the group. Some also disagreed with the way Rober painted autism in his video, feeling that he suggested autistic people’s main contributions to the world were limited to their positivity.
Petition Calls for Event to Be Canceled
A petition calling for the event to be canceled currently has over 10,000 signatures. It compared some of NEXT’s practices to eugenics and said the group supports “other extremely harmful ideologies that all come down to the sole purpose of ending the existence of autistic people.”
The petition suggested that people who want to donate to the autistic community should find other organizations like the Autism Self Advocacy Network.
A Twitter user named Dave Shaw wrote an open letter to those involved in the fundraiser asking them to not support NEXT.
“As an austistic adult, I can assure you that like any other marginalised community we want and need acceptance and to be included in society,” he wrote. “The organization behind the upcoming livestream, Next For Autism, does not provide nor aim for this.”
He backed many of the other issues people have had with NEXT, calling ABA “traumatic” and a from of “child abuse.” He also stood against efforts to cure autism.
“Autism is not a disease or a defect to be cured. It is simply a form of diversity,” he wrote.
His letter caught the attention of YouTubers Rhett & Link, who were scheduled to appear in the livestream.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” they wrote back. “We are no longer participating in the event.”
NEXT For Autism Responds
Following the backlash, NEXT released a statement on Monday defending its practices and denying allegations that it is funding efforts to cure autism.
“There have been some outrageous misinformation circulating about Next for Autism, its mission, methods, and partners,” that statement said.
“Our mission has never been the cure or prevention of autism, in fact, NEXT was created to fill a void,” it continued, adding that when it was founded, most groups aiding the autistic community were working to fund biomedical research, while NEXT was focused on school services.
The statement then addressed NEXT’s partnership with Autism Speaks and said it only works with the group to aid its mission of expanding access to programs and services.
“Anyone using these partnerships to draw a line from NEXT to eugenics or anything related to the prevention and cure of autism is doing an enormous disservice to the people we serve by spreading this gross untruth.”
Regarding ABA, NEXT said the methodology has changed over the years and bears no resemblance to the conversion therapy-like treatments people are claiming the group supports.
NEXT also said it is committed to including more Autistic board members in the future.
For his part, Rober wrote that proceeds from Color the Spectrum will go directly towards services to helping autistic people after they graduate towards high school, a time period where programs are particularly lacking. His post did not directly address the backlash, but clarified where money raised will go.