Bon Appétit editor seen wearing brownface in Instagram photo resigned


Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport resigned on Monday after a photo of him in brownface resurfaced. Rapoport made the announcement on Instagram, saying he hasn’t “championed an inclusive vision” at the company. The Instagram photo of Rapoport in brownface was first posted by his wife on Halloween 2013. Many former and current Bon Appétit staffers called for Rapoport to resign after the photo was posted to Twitter by food writer Tammie Teclemariam. Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Adam Rapoport has resigned as editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit after a photo of him in brownface resurfaced on Monday. The Instagram photo was first posted by Rapoport’s wife Simone Shubuck on Halloween 2013. —chez tammie (@tammieetc) June 8, 2020″#TBT me and my papi,” Shubuck wrote in the caption, tagging Rapoport’s Instagram account. She added the hashtag #boricua, which is a term that Puerto Ricans often use to identify themselves. The photo prompted widespread backlash, and many former and current Bon Appétit staffers called on Rapoport to step down. 

On Monday night, he did just that. 

A post shared by Adam Rapoport (@rapoport)Jun 8, 2020 at 4:21pm PDTIn his statement, Rapoport said he hadn’t “championed an inclusive vision” during his time at the company. “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 the work. I am deeply sorry for my failings and to the position in which I put the editors of BA. Thank you.” A screengrab of the photo of Rapoport in brownface was first posted to Twitter on Monday morning by food writer Tammie Teclemariam. 

Teclemariam also included grabs from the comments on the photo, which has since been taken down.Christina Muhlke, Bon Appétit’s current editor-at-large, wrote: “Beyond. Did Rapo know you were gramming this!?” “Yes that is do rag under his hat if that is what you meant,” Shubuck responded, adding an emoji of a smiley face winking and sticking out its tongue. —chez tammie (@tammieetc) June 8, 2020—chez tammie (@tammieetc) June 8, 2020″This was so dead on, I was so afraid of you two that night!!!!!” commented Jane Larkworthy, who is the current beauty editor-at-large of The Cut. 

Larkworthy replied to Teclemariam’s thread on Monday, calling her Instagram comment “shameful.” —Jane Larkworthy (@JaneLarkworthy) June 8, 2020In the caption of her first tweet about the photo, Teclemariam wrote: “I do not know why Adam Rapoport simply doesn’t write about Puerto Rican food for @bonappetit himself!!!”It appeared to be in reference to Rapoport’s response from just days prior when Puerto Rican food writer Illyanna Maisonet called out Bon Appétit after the company promised to tackle “more of the racial and political issues at the core of the food world” on the heels of the Black Lives Matter protests.

Here at BA, we’re often talking about recipes, cooking techniques, and emerging restaurants. But we also understand that food is inherently political. Look no further than the recent pandemic, which we documented in our daily Restaurant Diaries. And as food businesses across the country stand in solidarity with George Floyd and others killed before him, our mandate could not be more clear. In the days and weeks to come, you’ll see more stories from restaurant owners and staff at the front lines of these protests. We’ll be spotlighting Black-owned food businesses in cities nationwide. And you’ll see us tackling more of the racial and political issues at the core of the food world. In the meantime, we encourage you to donate to organizations supporting racial justice like the @aclu_nationwide and the @naacp, and to support the Black-owned food businesses in your own neighborhood. We don’t have all the answers, and we know we have work to do. Head to the link in our profile for @rapoport’s full newsletter from today. A post shared by bonappetitmag (@bonappetitmag) on May 31, 2020 at 2:42pm PDTMay 31, 2020 at 2:42pm PDTMaisonet noted that she had recently pitched a story to the company “about Afro-Boricuas that make regional rice fritters.” She said a Bon Appétit editor had rejected the pitch, saying that it sounded like “a story that could have been told 5 years ago.” 

“So, before we go praising them for patting themselves on the back for showing ‘solidarity’ during a time when it would be bad for business to NOT show solidarity… maybe we can get some full print issues of the regional foods of Puerto Rico,” Maisonet wrote in the caption. “Oh, and Africa. Brazil. Basically, the entire f*****g Diaspora. BY people from the Diaspora.” Rapoport then commented on Maisonet’s Instagram post, writing: “Strongly agree with all of this. We are actively working to bring new faces and POVs onto our staff, including the test kitchen, to ensure lasting change. This will happen.” Maisonet also shared direct messages between her and Rapoport — which she has since posted on Twitter— in which he told her that Bon Appétit readers “expect what’s happening ‘right now'” when it comes to stories about the food world. 

—illyanna Maisonet (@eatgordaeat) June 6, 2020″And that’s what we generally try to do,” he continued. “But not always. Rick Martinez has done his carnitas recipe. Priya [Krishna] many of the Indian recipes she grew up with, Andy Baraghani his favorite Persian dishes. The thing is, these are all staffers and their path to a green light is so much easier than a freelancer coming in cold with a pitch.” “I’m definitely certain listening your three POC staff token writers (two of which are white presenting) is helpful in ensuring I am aware of the ‘diversity’ BA HAS shown,” Maisonet responded. “But I get that their avenues are less congested when it comes to getting ideas accepted, as they are staffers. That still doesn’t deflect from the fact that you don’t have any Puerto Rican stories or recipes.” Both Krishna and Baraghani quickly spoke out against the photo of Rapoport, as did a slew of former and current Bon Appétit staffers. 

—Priya Krishna (@priyakrishna) June 8, 2020Insider has reached out to Rapoport and Condé Nast for comment.



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