Bon Appetit‘s editor-in-chief, Adam Rapoport, resigned late Monday after a 16-year-old picture of him with brownface resurfaced online and drew harsh criticism, coupled with a subsequent claim of discriminatory pay at the Conde Nast-owned U.S. food magazine by a staff editor.
The picture, clicked earlier and posted on the Instagram account of Rapoport’s wife Simone Shubuck in 2013, showed him in brownface makeup with her, according to several media reports. Shubuck’s Instagram account has since been taken private.
“From an extremely ill-conceived Halloween costume 16 years ago to my blind spots as an editor, I’ve not championed an inclusive vision,” Rapoport said in a post on Instagram.
His resignation comes as newsrooms across the United States examine their track records on diversity, inclusion and sensitivity to issues facing people of color in the midst of widespread protests across the country after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, on May 25.
Reacting to the picture, Bon Appetit editor Sohla El-Waylly took to Instagram on Monday and called for Rapoport to step down, saying that only white editors are paid for their video appearances.
“I’ve been pushed in front of video as a display of diversity,” wrote El-Waylly, who joined Bon Appetit less than a year ago and is a regular fixture in the BA Test Kitchen video series. “None of the people of color have been compensated for their appearances.”
Conde Nast said on Tuesday it has a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination and harassment. “It’s simply not true to say that any employee is not paid for their work.”
The publisher, which also owns Vogue, GQ and the New Yorker, named Amanda Shapiro, an editor for its ‘healthyish’ website, as the acting deputy editor of Bon Appetit.
In recent days, racial insensitivity has led to the resignation of several high-profile newspaper editors in the United States.
The New York Times editorial page editor, James Bennet, responsible for publishing a column that advocated using the military to quell violence amid protests over U.S. racial inequality, resigned on Sunday.
The top editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stan Wischnowski, resigned after employees walked out in protest over a headline “Buildings Matter, Too,” on a story about the impact of civil unrest on property. —Reporting by Ismail Shakil and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Arun Koyyur