Culture

Sohla From ‘Bon Appétit’ Has Become The Internet’s New Hero After Exposing Pay Inequity

Anyway, stan Sohla El-Waylly.

sohla bon appetit

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Over the last few years, the Bon Appétit YouTube channel has gained a cult following.

While most known for their ‘Gourmet Makes’ and ‘It’s Alive!’ series hosted by white chefs Claire Saffitz and Brad Leone, a person of colour is featured in almost every video made on the channel — most often as a supporting or assisting chef.

This is why it was so shocking for people to learn that the BIPOC staff in the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen allegedly do not earn any money for their video appearances, unlike their white co-workers.

The shocking revelation was shared to Instagram by popular video personality and assistant food editor, Sohla El-Waylly, after an image of then-editor-in-chief, Adam Rapoport, in brownface resurfaced online.

While calling for Rapoport’s resignation, Sohla used the opportunity to air her grievances about Condé Nast (Bon Appétit’s parent company) in regards to systematic racism.

Despite being 35-years-old, with over 15 years of professional experience, Sohla shared that she only earns a measly $50,000 USD annually to “assist mostly white editors with significantly less experience than me”.

Going on to call out the pay inequity within the BA team, Sohla then shared that she had only been used in videos as a display of diversity. “In reality, currently only white editors are paid for their video appearances,” she wrote. “None of the people of colour have been compensated.”

After Sohla shared this information, the internet rallied behind the talented chef — who has experience running her own restaurant and working in Michelin-starred establishments — and demanded fair compensation for the people of colour at Bon Appétit. 

However, Condé Nast deny any discrimination and the claims that they only pay their white editors for their video appearances, according to a spokesperson who spoke to Variety. But this claim is entirely untrue as it’s common knowledge that Clarie Saffitz, who is easily the publications most popular video star, earns a per-episode fee as a freelancer, which people speculate to fall between $20-$30,000 a video.

Despite Sohla having previously asked for a similar on-air contract, Rapoport and then-Head of Video Matt Duckor had apparently denied the request. But Sohla says that once her Instagram stories calling out pay inequity at the company were uploaded, Duckor swiftly sent her a revised contract, which added $20,000 to her base salary.

Speaking to Business Insider, Sohla says she was “insulted and appalled” at the offer, when other white staff earn way more in their per-episode rates.

Sohla further explained to BuzzFeed that the absence of a per-episode contract comes down to a lack of equality. “[Condé Nast’s] reasoning for it was always that the people who have contracts are the people who have series, like shows,” she shared. “But all those people who have shows are white and [Condé Nast are] the ones who decide who has a show.”

As a result of all the chatter online about the pay inequity and mistreatment of the BIPOC staff, both Rapoport and Duckor resigned. But that wasn’t enough.

People online started to demand Sohla be paid as fairly as her white co-workers, using the opportunity to highlight just how much skill, expertise and talent she brings to the Test Kitchen in one supercut that has gone viral.

Piecing together clips from popular Bon Appétit episodes, the supercut really highlighted just how criminally underpaid Sohla is for all her cameos and culinary skill. Not only is Sohla Claire’s chocolate tempering lifeline, but Brad literally asks her how to pronounce turmeric in the compilation.

Now, as it should be, everyone just can’t help but stan Sohla El-Waylly, the woman who single-handedly dismantled the systematic racism running through Bon Appétit.