Four More ‘Bon Appétit’ Staff Announce They’re Stepping Back Over BIPOC Pay Inequity
This makes seven people in one week.
Four more Bon Appétit staff members have either left or scaled back their jobs, following the departure of three of its ‘Test Kitchen’ YouTube stars last week, after negotiations over equitable pay for BIPOC staff had failed to live up to public promises.
Last Thursday, Priya Krishna, Rick Martinez and Sohla El-Waylly all announced they would step back from Bon Appétit‘s Test Kitchen video series.
It comes after a public reckoning this June as El-Waylly and others called out pay inequality and systematic racism at the Condé Nast publication, saying that BIPOC staff weren’t paid equally, if at all, for video appearances. Viewers were astounded, especially as Sohla was a clear stand-out in the videos.
Although Condé vowed to do better under public scrutiny and several management staff resigned as a result, Krishna described it as “lip service” in her public note last week.
“I was told by video leadership that things were changing and that there would be a huge push towards diversity. I was told I would receive a fair contract with equitable pay and opportunities for growth,” Priya wrote.
“But it was all lip service. The contract I received was nowhere near equitable… [and] I have received no concrete update on the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on the part of video.”
Martinez also said that contract negotiations were “torturous and dehumanising”, leading him (and Krishna and El-Waylly) to depart from the video series. El-Wayllyl says she will still contribute to the magazine and website.
Now, fellow Test Kitchen stars Molly Baz and Gaby Melian have announced they will no longer appear in videos, either.
“Yesterday we lost three valuable members of our video team,” wrote Baz on Instagram. “I support their decisions unequivocally and extremely disheartened that Condé Nast Entertainment was unable to provide them contracts that they felt were fair and equitable…. for this reason [I’ve] asked CNE to release me from the video obligations of my contract.”
Melian echoed Baz’s comments, writing that she was proud of her ex-coworkers and would not sign a new contract to appear in videos.
“After weeks of negotiations, Condé Nast Entertainment is not meeting my expectations regarding the plans to have a more diverse and inclusive video program,” she wrote. “For that reason I will not be signing a contract with them to appear in videos.”
As per Grub Street, two magazine staff, Ryan Walker-Hartshorn and Jesse Sparks, have also announced their resignations. They were the only two Black employees at the publication and each cited their own issues with being underpaid, overworked, and overlooked as editorial assistants.
“I have to shoutout my unbelievably grounded and caring support team,” wrote Walker-Hartshorn on Instagram.
“Colleagues that quickly turned into the best of friends. Friends that quickly turned into my family. We care deeply for each other and for the stories we believe in and fight for. I am honored and proud to have worked with you all and wish you nothing but the freaking best.”
Find their full statements below.
Swear to god working at Condé is like being on the opposite sports team in an Airbud movie. Like logically there’s no way to fuck up a situation that bad that you lose to a fucking DOG but they always find a way to fumble the bag
— Jesse “Personhood Before Professionalism” Sparks (@JesseASparks) August 8, 2020
View this post on Instagram
Today was my last day at Bon Appetit. As many of you know, in my three years at the brand, I did more than assist the editor in chief. Through editorial projects and other contributions, I introduced previously nonexistent conversations about diversity and inclusion—challenging every department at BA to consider the people they had always left out, and bringing forward perspectives that had never been championed before. Over the last couple of months, I attempted to secure a position at BA that reflected the work I’ve already done, and the work I had hoped to do going forward. But it seems there is not an appropriate role for me at the magazine. So it’s time to move on. But before I do, I have to shoutout my unbelievably grounded and caring support team. Colleagues that quickly turned into the best of friends. Friends that quickly turned into my family. We care deeply for each other and for the stories we believe in and fight for. I am honored and proud to have worked with you all and wish you nothing but the freaking best. In my next chapter, I want to continue championing Black stories and Black people—wherever that may be. Thank you to everyone who has stood up for me over this time. I’m excited for whatever is next. More on that soon. Love, Ryan