Adam Rapoport wrote that he will "reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and to allow Bon Appétit to get to a better place"

By Benjamin VanHoose
June 09, 2020 11:21 AM
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Adam Rapoport
Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan/Getty

Adam Rapoport is stepping down as editor in chief of Bon Appétit following outrage over a resurfaced racially insensitive photograph, leading magazine staff members to speak out about unfair treatment at the brand.

On Monday, Rapoport, 50, announced on Instagram that he is resigning from being the face of the food publication, writing that he is "deeply sorry" for a former Halloween costume he wore that perpetuated harmful stereotypes of Puerto Rican people.

"I am stepping down as editor in chief of Bon Appétit to reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and to allow Bon Appétit to get to a better place," wrote Rapoport in a statement. "From an extremely ill-conceived Halloween costume 16 years ago to my blind spots as an editor, I've not championed an inclusive vision."

"And ultimately, it's been at the expense of Bon Appétit and its staff, as well as our readers," he continued. "They all deserve better. The staff has been working hard to evolve the brand in a positive, more diverse direction. I will do all I can to support that work, but I am not the one to lead that work.

Bon Appetit

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Rapoport concluded, "I am deeply sorry for my failings and to the position in which I put the editors of BA. Thank you."

Bon Appétit did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Several Bon Appétit staff members spoke out about the controversy, noting that the problem is bigger than the resurfaced photo.

Assistant editor Sohla El-Waylly wrote on her Instagram Story on Monday that she is "angry and disgusted" by the picture, but that it's "just a symptom of the systematic racism that runs rampant" within the media company, calling out the alleged pay discrepancies between white and nonwhite employees.

El-Waylly, 35, said that she is paid less than white coworkers with "significantly less" experience and that she is "pushed in front of video as a display of diversity." She also claimed that white editors are paid for on-camera appearances but people of color are not.

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Supporting her co-worker, Molly Baz, Senior Food Editor at Bon Appétit, shared on her Instagram Story that she will not appear in any videos for the magazine "until my BIPOC colleagues receive equal pay and are fairly compensated for their appearances."

In a statement to Variety, Condé Nast — the media company under which the Bon Appétit brand is housed — denied the accusation that white staffers are paid for video appearances while people of color are not.

On Sunday evening, the media company issued a statement denouncing discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

"As a global media company, Condé Nast is dedicated to creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace. We have a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination and harassment in any forms," the statement read. "Consistent with that, we go to great lengths to ensure that employees are paid fairly, in accordance with their roles and experience, across the entire company. We take the well-being of our employees seriously and prioritize a people-first approach to our culture."

Noting Rapoport's departure, El-Waylly continued on to say, "Let's use this as an opportunity to clean house and make real change."

In a letter to readers on May 31 titled "Food Has Always Been Political," Rapoport wrote that "in recent years, we at BA have been reckoning with our blind spots when it comes to race," adding that they "still have work to do."