Two more stars announced Friday that they’re leaving Bon Appétit’s popular video series.
Bon Appétit senior food editor Molly Baz took to Instagram Friday to let her 588,000 followers know that she has asked Condé Nast Entertainment to release her from her contract for the Test Kitchen in solidarity with her coworkers.
The move comes just one day after Priya Krishna, Rick Martinez and Sohla El-Waylly revealed that they would be stepping back from the Test Kitchen after failed contract negotiations, although they are not severing ties with the magazine. The three had been in talks with the company for weeks after it was claimed that people of color were paid much less, if anything at all, than their white colleagues were for making appearances in the popular video series.
The allegations were made in June after the emergence of a photograph of editor in chief Adam Rapoport in brown face. He departed shortly afterward and Condé is still searching for his replacement.
“I’m sad. I’m disappointed. I’m frustrated along with all of you,” Baz said. “Yesterday we lost three valuable members of our video team. I support their decisions unequivocally and am extremely disheartened that Condé Nast Entertainment was unable to provide them contracts that they felt were fair and equitable.”
She said for the time being she’ll remain with the magazine as it rebuilds, stressing that it is a separate entity from the video series. The publisher’s entertainment arm manages the video series, but not the magazine and editors are given separate contracts for the Test Kitchen.
Just hours later, Gaby Melian, a chef and writer, also announced on the social media network that she wouldn’t be signing a new Test Kitchen contract. “After weeks of negotiations, Condé Nast Entertainment is not meeting my expectations regarding the plans to have a more diverse and inclusive video program. For that reason I will not be signing a contract with them to appear in videos. I will continue to work as the Test Kitchen Manager doing what I love.”
In a statement posted to Twitter Thursday, Krishna said after the allegations of a toxic workplace for people of color were made in June, she was told by video leadership that things were changing, there would be a huge push toward diversity and she would receive a fair contract with equitable pay.
But now she believes it “was all lip service.” “The contract I received was nowhere near equitable, and actually would potentially allow for me to make even less than I do currently,” she continued. “These past few months have been disappointing and insulting. I am constantly being told that I am an important part of the Test Kitchen, yet leadership refuses to acknowledge that in the form of compensation.”
In addition to Rapoport, Matt Duckor, vice president and head of programming for lifestyle and style, who was heavily involved in the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen video series, also resigned in June. A number of former and current Bon Appétit staffers, all people of color, criticized him for not fostering a workplace environment that encourages diversity, as well as compensation issues, according to a Business Insider investigation.
And last week it was revealed that veteran Walt Disney executive Agnes Chu is joining the company in September as Condé Nast Entertainment president, succeeding Oren Katzeff. He’s not leaving the company but his new role has yet to be announced.
Baz said she sincerely hopes for the sake of the brand and “a group of people I deeply love, that a diverse and inclusive video program is coming.”
In a staff memo Friday, Stan Duncan, chief of people at Condé, released the findings of a recent investigation. “While we found that everyone was compensated fairly for video through their full-time salaries or other means as part of project or freelance agreements, it’s on us that our lack of open communication about video compensation created confusion,” he said. “Our recent investigation also has not uncovered evidence that race played a factor in setting compensation for any video team members.”
He also disclosed that drinks editor Alex Delaney and video editor Matt Hunziker, who have been on leave during a company investigation, are set to return.