Bon Appétit editor-in-chief resigns after brownface photo resurfaces

David Brancaccio, Nova Safo, and Alex Schroeder Jun 9, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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The photo of Adam Rapoport and his wife ⁠— which was apparently first posted on Instagram in 2013 ⁠— shows the couple dressed as stereotypes of Puerto Ricans. Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Bon Appétit editor-in-chief resigns after brownface photo resurfaces

David Brancaccio, Nova Safo, and Alex Schroeder Jun 9, 2020
The photo of Adam Rapoport and his wife ⁠— which was apparently first posted on Instagram in 2013 ⁠— shows the couple dressed as stereotypes of Puerto Ricans. Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM
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The editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit magazine, Adam Rapoport, has resigned. The move came hours after a photograph resurfaced, showing Rapoport in a brownface costume.

Marketplace’s Nova Safo has more. He joined “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

David Brancaccio: What is this image, and where did it come from?

Nova Safo: It’s a photo of Rapoport and his wife, apparently first posted on Instagram in 2013. They’re dressed in costumes that traffic in stereotypes of Puerto Ricans. The photo angered staff of the magazine leading many to criticize Rapoport publicly. He resigned hours later saying in an Instagram post that he would, “reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being.”

Brancaccio: There’s the photo that had circulated before. But people are also saying there’s a workplace culture problem at Bon Appétit, allegations of discrimination.

Safo: Part of the context here is that Rapoport had put out a blog post on the Bon Appétit website about the Black Lives Matter protests around the country. He had encouraged readers to donate to organizations supporting racial justice.

There’s currently a reckoning happening inside media organizations over their own blind spots when it comes to race, people of color ⁠— both in how they’re represented in coverage and in newsrooms.

Given this, Rapoport’s post had the opposite effect. It sparked a number of accusations that the magazine, under Rapoport’s leadership, has treated women of color poorly. Sohla El-Waylly, an assistant editor at Bon Appétit, said in her Instagram stories that she’s “been pushed in front of video as a display of diversity” and that “in reality, currently only white editors are paid for their video appearances. None of the people of color have been compensated for their appearances.” Condé Nast, which owns Bon Appétit, denies these pay disparity allegations. Those videos are the foundation of Bon Appétit’s current popularity.

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