The staff of Bon Appétit apologized for being complicit in a culture of racism Wednesday after a photo of their editor in brownface resurfaced, causing him to resign as staffers called out systemic issues at the publication.
"Our mastheads have been far too white for far too long," the staff said in a statement posted to the popular food magazine's website. "As a result, the recipes, stories, and people we’ve highlighted have too often come from a white-centric viewpoint. At times we have treated non-white stories as 'not newsworthy' or 'trendy.' Other times we have appropriated, co-opted, and Columbused them."
Editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport resigned Monday evening hours after an old photo of him and his wife dressed up as Puerto Ricans for Halloween began circulating on social media.
The photo, which Rapoport said was from 16 years ago when he announced his resignation, prompted current and former staffers to speak out about the racial discrimination they've experienced while working at Bon Appétit.
In a series of Instagram stories, Sohla El-Waylly, an assistant food editor at Bon Appétit, wrote about the racial discrimination she's experienced since joining the staff 10 months ago, saying that she has been "pushed in front of video as a display of diversity" and, unlike her white colleagues, has not been compensated for appearances in the magazine's popular videos on YouTube.
"The deeply offensive photo circulating of Adam is horrific on its own, but also speaks to the much broader and longstanding impact of racism at these brands," the staff said.
Their statement also acknowledged that despite making strides to hire more people of color, the publication has "continued to tokenize many BIPOC staffers and contributors in our videos and on our pages."
"Many new BIPOC hires have been in entry-level positions with little power, and we will be looking to accelerate their career advancement and pay," the statement said, adding that Black staffers have been used in photo shoots to make the brand "seem more diverse."
"We haven’t properly learned from or taken ownership of our mistakes," the statement continued. "But things are going to change."
"What I do know from these past few days and through your feedback and comments is that we made a mistake—and we intend to learn from it," Rapoport said in 2016. "Expect better from us in the future."