I’ve written before about how I’m a voracious food-media consumer. Bon Appétit ‘s YouTube content was keeping me sustained at the beginning of the pandemic; then the rug was pulled out from under me. Food media was faced with a reckoning. Were diverse voices being shut out of the media landscape?
By now, you’ve seen the reports about Adam Rapoport resigning as Editor-in-Chief at Bon Appétit. The catalyst was a photo of Rapoport and his wife using racial stereotypes as Halloween costumes. Once the photo surfaced, the floodgates opened. Multiple reports poured in from Bon Appétit staffers alleging racial inequities at the food-media conglomerate. Bon Appétit has not released any videos or podcasts since Rapoport’s resignation. An entire timeline of the multiple allegations levied against Bon Appétit can be found here.
So how do food media outlets address the grievances of BIPOC? One way is to simply treat them equally. In a recently published conversation titled “When Did Recipe Writing Get So…Whitewashed?” Priya Krishna and Yewande Komolafe discuss how white voices in food media don’t have to explain themselves, while BIPOC are barely given the opportunity to share their food experiences. Equal pay is another sticking point. A shocking revelation from the Bon Appétit Rapaport fall-out was that many BIPOC heavily featured in video content were not compensated monetarily for their work. Shortly after this allegation came to light, Matt Duckor, head of video for Bon Appétit and other Condé Nast publications, resigned (racist and homophobic tweets of Duckor’s also surfaced). After weeks of silence, multiple Bon Appétit personalities, including Krishna, announced they were stepping away from appearing in videos after being disappointed by the new contracts they were offered.
Starting November 2nd, Dawn Davis will take over as Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appétit. Whether or not she’ll be able to overcome the negativity surrounding the brand is unknown. A quick look at Bon Appétit’s current articles isn’t very inspiring – at the very top are a few posts about recipes with fruit and one about grilled cheese. Meanwhile, food media outlets across the board are striving to overcome their biases, including Eater and Grub Street.