[Update: Bon Appétit journal has named Amanda Shapiro as Interim Editor.]
Adam Rapoport, the editor in chief of Bon Appétit journal, resigned on Monday, hours after a 2004 photograph of him and his spouse, Simone Shubuck, resurfaced on Twitter.
In a press release on Instagram, he stated he would “reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and to allow Bon Appétit to get to a better place.” Mr. Rapoport, who was an editor at GQ earlier than he took his present job in 2010, had been with the magazines’ mother or father firm, Condé Nast, for 20 years.
The picture in query, posted to Ms. Shubuck’s beforehand public Instagram feed on Halloween of 2013, had briefly circulated on social media earlier than. But it resurfaced on Monday morning amid a torrent of accusations, after a contract author posted screenshots of a latest dialog with Mr. Rapoport about whether or not her work as a Puerto Rican meals author may discover a “way in” to Bon Appétit.
In the Instagram caption, Ms. Shubuck referred to as Mr. Rapoport “Papi,” and used #boricua, a phrase many Puerto Ricans use to establish themselves. The picture was eliminated earlier than midday.
Bon Appétit has confronted persevering with criticism of the way it treats staff of coloration and presents meals from a wide range of cultures. Several members of its workers took to social media on Monday to name for Mr. Rapoport’s resignation and for higher compensation and remedy of individuals of coloration on workers.
Staff members had been referred to as to not less than two digital conferences throughout the course of the day to debate the and different racial points on the publication, based on individuals who attended the classes. In one, Mr. Rapoport apologized, then left the decision so workers members may talk about the matter. Most stated he ought to resign, based on one journalist who was on the decision however requested to not be recognized as a result of the dialogue was supposed to stay confidential.
For their half, workers members stated each on social media and in interviews that the was solely the newest in a sequence of missteps and poor remedy of individuals of coloration on the publication.
Sohla El-Waylly, an assistant editor at Bon Appétit who appears in test-kitchen videos, said in an Instagram story that she was “angered and disgusted” by the photograph and that people of color were not properly compensated.
“I’ve been pushed in front of video as a display of diversity,” she wrote. “In reality, currently only white editors are paid for their video appearances. None of the people of color have been compensated for their appearances.” She called for Mr. Rapoport’s resignation.
Molly Baz, a senior food editor at the publication, and Carla Lalli Music, the food editor at large, pledged to no longer be in Bon Appétit videos until Ms. El-Waylly and other people of color who appear on video were fairly compensated.
Other staff members were more circumspect.
“I’m likely courting internal reprimand, but I’m appalled and insulted by the EIC’s choice to embrace brownface in the photo making the rounds,” Joseph Hernandez, the research director for Bon Appétit, wrote in a tweet. “I’ve spent my career celebrating Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and POC voices in food, and this feels like an erasure of that work.”
In an interview, he said, “I’ve been in newsrooms for 15 years, and I’ve had a version of this conversation in each newsroom,” adding, “As a queer person of color, it’s exhausting to have the same conversation.”
The photograph of Mr. Rapoport re-emerged as racial-justice protests took place around the country and as the food-media industry has new, more heated discussions about white appropriation of the world’s cuisines — and about who should tell the stories of those traditions.
Publishers have started to look hard at race issues inside their own newsrooms. On Monday, the top editor of Refinery29, a women-focused publisher, stepped down after a number of employees came forward about their experiences of racial discrimination at the company.
Last week, employees of The New York Times widely criticized a decision by editors of the newspaper’s Op-Ed page to publish an essay by Senator Tom Cotton that called for a military response to quell civil unrest in American cities. Many of The Times’s black employees objected on social media, saying the essay “puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.” On Sunday, James Bennet resigned from his job as editorial page editor.
Many food publications have been re-examining how they tell stories about food and who tells them. The Times recently grappled with insensitive comments made about the lifestyle writers Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen by the contributor Alison Roman, whose column the paper has temporarily suspended.
On Monday, an image of Ms. Roman from 2008 also appeared on Twitter; some commenters said it appeared to show her dressed as a parody of a woman from a Mexican-American subculture. Ms. Roman tweeted an apology, saying the outfit was a Halloween costume inspired by San Francisco and the singer Amy Winehouse. “It reads as culturally insensitive, and I was an idiot child who knew nothing about the world/how this would be perceived and I’m sorry.”
Jordan Cohen, executive director of communications at The Times, said editors were reviewing the matter.
Both Bon Appétit, whose test-kitchen videos have become a sensation, drawing millions of views, and Mr. Rapoport himself have been recent targets of criticism.
In January, The San Francisco Chronicle published a column by Soleil Ho, its restaurant critic, dissecting how Bon Appétit features people of color. Her conclusion: The magazine “could be much better when it comes to accurately and meaningfully representing the cuisines and cultures it purports to represent.”
Mr. Rapoport responded in a February column, saying the publication had “instituted a series of department-by-department meetings focusing on diversity” and set new diversity goals.
A subsequent column he posted on May 31 took on issues of race more directly. “In recent years, we at BA have been reckoning with our blind spots when it comes to race,” he wrote, adding that “we don’t have all the answers. We know we have work to do. Food has always been political whether we say it or not. Now is the time to say it.”
It was not well received on social media. For some staff members and readers, the column papered over issues of race and diversity during Mr. Rapoport’s editorship.
Alex Lau, an Asian-American journalist who photographed many of the magazine’s top restaurant features, recently resigned, in part because of such issues. “I left BA for multiple reasons, but one of the main reasons was that white leadership refused to make changes that my BIPOC co-workers and I constantly pushed for,” he wrote on Twitter on Monday, using an acronym for Black, Indigenous, People of Color.
“I’ve been quiet about this for so long, because I always thought that I could actually change the organization from within but I was wrong, and quite frankly I am so glad that the internet is going after BA and holding them accountable.”
Many other staff members expressed their dissatisfaction with Mr. Rapoport on social media, as did many freelance food writers and readers.
Priya Krishna, who has a contract with Bon Appétit and writes often for the Food section of The Times, has been part of a group of food journalists working on race and diversity issues at the magazine. She said seeing the image of Mr. Rapoport “was like a gut punch.” On Twitter, she wrote: “It erases the work the BIPOC on staff have long been doing, behind the scenes. I plan to do everything in my power to hold the EIC, and systems that hold up actions like this, accountable.”
This latest chapter began when Illyanna Maisonet, who until January wrote a column on Puerto Rican food for The San Francisco Chronicle, posted excerpts from a recent exchange with Mr. Rapoport after an editor rejected her idea for a story about Puerto Rican food. Although Mr. Rapoport encouraged her and agreed that more Puerto Rican food needed to be featured on the magazine’s website, the text exchange was, she said, condescending.
“I sat on it for a year,” she said of the conversation, “because I didn’t think there was anything in it until all of this other stuff started coming up.”
As a publisher, Condé Nast hires mostly white editors and writers, many of whom come from privileged backgrounds and have graduated from elite colleges. Writers of color and of less-connected backgrounds have often found it difficult to get jobs or get freelance articles accepted.
On Monday morning, Tammie Teclemariam, who writes for several food and wine publications and The Wirecutter (which is owned by The Times), posted the image of Mr. Rapoport on Twitter and wrote, “I do not know why Adam Rapoport simply doesn’t write about Puerto Rican food for @bonAppétit himself!!!”
The Instagram photo was sent to her in direct messages by two other people in the food media, she said.
“If I know this, why didn’t everyone at Bon Appétit know this or do they? If two people sent it to me I can’t imagine they didn’t,” she said. “I was calling for him to be fired all weekend long. He is so endemic of these Condé Nast Graydon Carter old magazine values. This is the summer we’re calling people out.”
Edmund Lee contributed reporting.