Bon Appétit Editor Adam Rapoport Resigns: “He is so endemic of these Condé Nast Graydon Carter old magazine values.”

From the New York Times story by Kim Severson headlined “After Outcry, Bon Appétit Editor Resigns”:

Adam Rapoport, the editor in chief of Bon Appétit magazine, resigned on Monday, hours after a 2004 photo of him and his wife, Simone Shubuck, resurfaced on Twitter.

In a statement on Instagram, he said he would “reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and to allow Bon Appétit to get to a better place.” Mr. Rapoport, who was an editor at GQ before he took his current job in 2010, had been with the magazines’ parent company, Condé Nast, for 20 years.

The image in question, posted to Ms. Shubuck’s previously public Instagram feed on Halloween of 2013, had briefly circulated on social media before. But it resurfaced on Monday morning amid a torrent of accusations, after a freelance writer posted screenshots of an old conversation with Mr. Rapoport about whether her work as a Puerto Rican food writer could find a “way in” to Bon Appétit.”Sohla El-Waylly, an assistant editor at Bon Appétit who appears in test-kitchen videos, said in an Instagram story that she was “angered and disgusted” by the photograph and that people of color were not properly compensated. . . .

Molly Baz, a senior food editor at the publication, and Carla Lalli Music, the food editor at large, pledged to no longer be in Bon Appétit videos until Ms. El-Waylly and other people of color who appear on video were fairly compensated. . . .

“I’m likely courting internal reprimand, but I’m appalled and insulted by the EIC’s choice to embrace brownface in the photo making the rounds,” Joseph Hernandez, the research director for Bon Appétit, wrote in a tweet. “I’ve spent my career celebrating Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and POC voices in food, and this feels like an erasure of that work.”. . .

The photograph of Mr. Rapoport re-emerged as racial-justice protests took place around the country and as the food-media industry has new, more heated discussions about white appropriation of the world’s cuisines — and about who should tell the stories of those traditions. . . .

In January, The San Francisco Chronicle published a column by Soleil Ho, its restaurant critic, dissecting how Bon Appétit features people of color. Her conclusion: The magazine “could be much better when it comes to accurately and meaningfully representing the cuisines and cultures it purports to represent.

Mr. Rapoport responded in a February column, saying the publication had “instituted a series of department-by-department meetings focusing on diversity” and set new diversity goals.

A subsequent column he posted on May 31 took on issues of race more directly. “In recent years, we at BA have been reckoning with our blind spots when it comes to race,” he wrote, adding that “we don’t have all the answers. We know we have work to do. Food has always been political whether we say it or not. Now is the time to say it.”

It was not well received on social media. For some staff members and readers, the column papered over issues of race and diversity during Mr. Rapoport’s editorship. . . .

As a publisher, Condé Nast hires mostly white editors and writers, many of whom come from privileged backgrounds and have graduated from elite colleges. Writers of color and of less-connected backgrounds have often found it difficult to get jobs or get freelance articles accepted.

On Monday morning, Tammie Teclemariam, who writes for several food and wine publications and The Wirecutter (which is owned by The Times), posted the image of Mr. Rapoport on Twitter and wrote, “I do not know why Adam Rapoport simply doesn’t write about Puerto Rican food for @bonAppétit himself!!!”

The Instagram photo was sent to her in direct messages by two other people in the food media, she said.

“If I know this, why didn’t everyone at Bon Appétit know this or do they? If two people sent it to me I can’t imagine they didn’t,” she said. “I was calling for him to be fired all weekend long. He is so endemic of these Condé Nast Graydon Carter old magazine values. This is the summer we’re calling people out.”
Note: Not included in this NYTimes story was Bon Appétit winning four 2020 National Magazine Awards:

NEW YORK (May 28, 2020)—The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) announced winners for the 2020 National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media this evening during a virtual event. . . .The New York Times Magazine took top honors this year, with five category wins. . . .National Geographic and Bon Appétit each won four awards. . . .

General Excellence, Service and Lifestyle: Bon Appétit, Adam Rapoport, Editor in Chief.

Design: Adam Rapoport, Editor in Chief, Michele Outland, Creative Director.

Video: Bon Appétit with Condé Nast Entertainment, Adam Rapoport, Editor in Chief, Bon Appétit; Matthew Duckor, Vice President, Head of Programming, Lifestyle and Style, Condé Nast Entertainment.

Leisure Interests: Adam Rapoport, Editor in Chief.


  1. A post from August 2019 about how Conde Nast closed Gourmet magazine:

    From Ruth Reichl’s book, Save Me the Plums, about leaving the New York Times in 1999 to become editor of Gourmet magazine. In this short excerpt she describes how in 2009 she learned that the magazine, which began publishing in 1941, was being closed by Si Newhouse.
    The interview had just begun when my phone began to ring. Tom Wallace’s number floated onto my screen.

    “Yes?” In my current mood, I expected more good news. Even when Tom said I was wanted in New York, I didn’t get it.

    “I have to be in Portland tomorrow, promoting the cookbook.” Tom’s tone had turned ominous. “Be in the office tomorrow.”

    It finally dawned on me that this was the call I’d been anticipating for ten years: I was about to be fired. To my surprise there was no panic, only sadness. . . .

    I took the red-eye to New York, sitting up all night, but when I got to the office Robin was looking even more ragged than I felt. “They want us all in the conference room at ten,” she said.

    “All of us?” I was stunned. I could hardly believe that Si was going to turn this into a public spectacle, fire me in front of my own staff. It did not seem like him; he was not a cruel man.

    We filed in grimly and stood silently watching as Si strolled in among us. He was brief. “After long deliberation, we have decided to close Gourmet.”

    We looked at one another, uncomprehending. Close Gourmet? Surely we’d misunderstood. They could fire us all. Take the magazine in a new direction. But they could not shut down such a revered institution. A world without Gourmet was unimaginable.

    “It’s very sad,” Si added. . . .”Your key cards will work today,” he continued. “And tomorrow. Until five p.m.”

  2. A post from April 27, 2020 about the challenges facing Condé Nast magazines:

    From a New York Times story by media critic Ben Smith headlined “Anna Wintour Made Condé Nast the Embodiment of Boomer Excess. Can It Change to Meet This Crisis?”:

    The negative trends — the collapse of print and of advertising — arrived at Condé Nast in 2008, and haven’t relented since. Now they’ll hit Ms. Wintour and Vogue particularly hard. The fashion magazine is Condé’s most lucrative U.S. publication. But it is also almost entirely dependent on advertisements that Ms. Wintour, through sheer force of personality, has kept coming in from fashion houses as virtually every other print category collapsed. Clothing is now the hardest-hit sector of the devastated retail industry. . . .

    But the coronavirus crisis is clearly reordering the priorities at what the Condé chairman, Jonathan Newhouse, once referred to as “the Vogue Company.” Now its fortunes depend on whether The New Yorker — now the strongest business in the company — and Wired can keep pace with the red-hot Atlantic, and on Bon Appétit feeding and entertaining the homebound masses. Nobody is putting on a Givenchy cape anytime soon.

    Condé Nast chief executive Roger Lynch, the former chief of Pandora, comes from the alternate world of the tech industry. He talks passionately about corporate strategy and plays in a classic rock cover band called the Merger. He arrived in 2019 at a business still shaped by the legacy of the Newhouse family, which had turned a workaday newspaper fortune into a glamorous and glossy magazine publishing house. The company drifted through the internet age until the death of the magnate S.I. Newhouse in 2017, the same year Edmund Lee reported in The New York Times that Condé Nast had lost $120 million.

    Mr. Lynch’s hiring signaled Condé’s shift away from family passion project to a more professional era, suggesting to many observers that they will eventually sell the media company — though the family staunchly denies that. While the Newhouses still dominate the board of its parent company, Advance, they added outside directors for the first time last summer. Their billions no longer depend on Condé Nast — they have big stakes in the cable television businesses — and they have diversified further, even spending $730 million to buy the endurance sports company Ironman Group as the coronavirus shut down its events.

    Mr. Lynch said today’s Condé Nast differed greatly from its outdated image.

    “I think most people think about Condé Nast in the context of the old Condé Nast. I mean, it’s a big magazine business, a lot of drama, a lot of excess,” he said. “That’s just not the company today.” . . .

    The bigger question may be what becomes of the glossy magazines in whatever new age we are entering. Condé Nast is the defining brand of American inequality; its original slogan was “class not mass.”

    Now it is entering a grim period of austerity. Editors have drawn up lists of employees they expect to lay off, and are figuring out how to relate to them in the meantime so they won’t be surprised by the call from H.R.; its more tightly run rival, Hearst, has avoided those measures. Executives have taken salary cuts — 50 percent for Mr. Lynch; 20 percent for Ms. Wintour, who has also begun a campaign, A Common Thread, aimed at helping the fashion industry with which her future, and Vogue’s, remains inextricably linked.

    The only people with nothing to fear appear to be the veterans of the glory days, when senior editors were promised pensions for life equivalent to more than half of their generous salaries. Three former executives, including Mr. Carter, who now runs an upscale newsletter called Air Mail from the south of France, said the company’s current woes had not affected their paychecks. Robert Gottlieb, who was fired by his good friend Si Newhouse from The New Yorker in 1992, told me the checks have been coming steadily ever since. . . .

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