Sohla El-Waylly is an editor for Bon Appetit magazine, the widely circulated food magazine under Condé Nast. On Monday, El-Waylly posted an Instagram story about EIC Adam Rapoport’s viral brown face photo, and went on to discuss her experience being allegedly discriminated against in the Bon Appetit office.
Rappoport recently come under fire on Monday, after a photo of him wearing a racist costume in 2013 resurfaced. His wife, Simone Shubuck, shared a photo of the “brown face” costume her Instagram page. Many employees of the popular food magazine have since spoken publicly about the incident, and about alleged incidents of racism they’ve experienced at the magazine.
The post was published on October 31, 2013. Beyond the racism inherent in the costumes and Shubuck’s caption (she calls Rapoport “papi”), many have noted a familiar face in the comments section for the post. Jane Larkworthy, an editor for The Cut, commented on the photo in 2013, “This was so dead on, I was so afraid of you two that night!!!!”
Here’s what you need to know about El-Waylly:
El-Waylly Has Been at Bon Appetit for 10 Months; She Claims She Was Underpaid for Her Experience, & Frequently Used as a ‘Display of Diversity’
In her Instagram story, El-Waylly wrote of her time at Bon Appetit,
”I am 35 years old and have over 15 years of professional experience. I was hired as an assistant editor at 50k to assist mostly white editors with significantly less experience than me. I’ve been pushed in front of video as a display of diversity. In reality, currently only white editors are paid for their video appearances. None of the people of color have been compensated.”
She continued, “I demand not only the resignation of [Rapoport] but also to see BIPOC given fair titles, fair salaries, and compensation for video appearances. Let use this opportunity to clean house and make real change.”
Other Bon Appetit Employees & Writers Have Defended El-Waylly’s Decision to Speak Out, & Are Demanding Her Needs Get Met
In the wake of El-Waylly’s statement, many colleagues in the industry are speaking out. Some have voiced shock and dismay at her allegations, while others have demanded El-Waylly receive a higher compensation immediately.
Alyse Whitney, a freelance food write, tweeted, “i didn’t have the pleasure of working with sohla at bon appetit. in my two years there, i did have the displeasure of working in a toxic, cliquey environment that tokenized and disrespected POC.”
Alex Lau, another former Bon Appetit employee, wrote a similar thread as El-Waylly’s, explaining his experience with alleged discrimination and racism at the magazine. He wrote, “yes, I left BA for multiple reasons, but one of the main reasons was that white leadership refused to make changes that my BIPOC coworkers and I constantly pushed for.” You can read his full thread here.