Is this the end of Test Kitchen and possibly Bon Appétit?
On Aug. 6, Priya Krishna, Sohla El-Waylly and Rick Martinez simultaneously posted on their social media platforms that they would be leaving the popular Condé Nast video series.
Last June, Bon Appétit came under fire for how they’ve been treating their employees of color, with El-Waylly and Krishna for the site alleging racist and discriminatory practices. Aside from the allegations, a racist photo of former Editor in Chief Adam Rappoport also resurfaced, with several POC employees denouncing his racist behavior and management of the magazine’s toxic work culture.
This prompted Rappoport to resign, as well as Condé Nast’s former Vice President Matt Duckor who resigned after accusations of racist and homophobic behavior. The company then released a statement saying that they were taking responsibility to improve diversity and provide equal treatment to their employees.
However, Krishna and Martinez claimed that nothing has changed after the contract negotiations that followed Rappoport’s and Duckor’s resignations.
“The contract I received was nowhere near equitable, and actually would potentially allow for me to make even less than I do currently,” Krishna wrote on her Twitter. “I have received no concrete update on the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on the part of video, despite asking multiple times…I am thankful for the platform Bon Appétit video gave me. But I refuse to be part of a system that takes advantage of me while insisting I should be grateful for scraps.”
I’m leaving Bon Appétit video. Here’s what’s been happening over the last few months, and some thoughts. pic.twitter.com/L59blcESLv
— Priya Krishna (@priyakrishna) August 6, 2020
Moreover, Martinez shared the same sentiments and wrote on his Instagram stories that “I will still not get a fair pay rate nor will I get a comparable number of appearances to my colleagues in the test kitchen.” He also added, “As a Mexican-American, a BIPOC or member of any marginalized group, we encounter this all the time…even in a pandemic, during a recession, after I just closed on a house, I could not sign that contract. My happiness and my self-worth are more important to me than [returning] to the test kitchen.”
El-Waylly, on the other hand, previously said that she would not be participating in any more videos with Condé Nast on Jun. 19. She, then, issued a statement to Business Insider in response to the company’s steps towards inclusivity.
“I think they’re very risk-averse,” El-Waylly told Business Insider. “I think that more people of color are going to be more visible in food media. That’s more of a progressive thought, but Condé is a bit conservative and risk-averse. Maybe they’ll do it in five years after someone else makes it cool.”
She confirmed her decision on her Instagram story today and said “it’s just not the right thing for me.” Despite their departure from video participation, both El-Waylly and Krishna will still be writing for the brand.
The three announcements came on the same day that Condé Nast confirmed that Sonia Chopra, Vox Media Eater’s former director for editorial strategy, would be joining Bon Appétit as their new executive editor. In response to the new position, Chopra wrote on her Twitter that she “can’t wait to get started and looking forward to real and meaningful change.”
So very excited to join the team at Bon Appétit. Can’t wait to get started and looking forward to real and meaningful change https://t.co/zCelHVKY0H
— Sonia Chopra (@soniachopra) August 6, 2020
A Condé Nast representative issued a statement in response to the three journalists’ resignations:
“Over the last several weeks, the video team has worked individually with each Test Kitchen contributor to address all concerns and communicate equitable compensation structures, including standardized rate cards, in many ways exceeding SAG/AFTRA standards, for freelance and editorial staff who contribute to video. As new leadership at both Condé Nast Entertainment and Bon Appétit join the team in the coming weeks, new video programming with new and returning talent will also be announced.”
We hope this serves as a wakeup call to Condé Nast and other publications to provide the treatment and compensation that their employees deserve and to show real changes at their next steps towards diversity and equality.
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