The Cut’s beauty editor at large Jane Larkworthy has been suspended for a derogatory comment she made on an Instagram post showing former Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport in brownface.
The photograph was posted to the social media site in 2013 by Rapoport’s wife Simone Shubuck and shows the two in brownface for Halloween with the caption “#TBT me and my papi @rapo4 #boricua,” a reference to Puerto Ricans. At the time, Larkworthy commented, “This was so dead on, I was so afraid of you two that night!”
When a Bon Appétit freelancer unearthed the since-deleted post Monday, it caused outrage among many and led some former and current staffers to share their negative experiences of working at the magazine as people of color. Among them, staffer Sohla El-Waylly alleged that only white editors are paid for the video appearances on Bon Appétit’s popular YouTube channel. The day ended with Rapoport announcing that he was stepping down to “reflect on the work” that he needs to do as a human being.
The Cut, the fashion vertical of New York Magazine, acted Tuesday evening, with editor in chief and president Stella Bugbee stating in a Twitter post that Larkworthy’s comment “does not represent the values of The Cut, and we’re sorry for the pain it has caused, in particular to the Latinx community.”
“This comment runs counter to the inclusivity we aim to foster at The Cut, both in our workplace and in our storytelling. We are suspending Jane while we investigate and determine the course forward,” she added.
On Monday, Larkworthy issued her own apology on Twitter, calling her comment on the photograph, which was taken in 2004, “shameful.” “What’s even more shameful is that I didn’t approach the people in the photograph at the time and tell them why this was racist,” she added. She has written a column for The Cut since 2018 and became the site’s beauty editor at large in April 2019. According to a release at the time, that meant that in addition to her column, she would produce two features a month in a variety of formats, from product reviews to trend stories to interviews.
It is understood that Larkworthy was on staff, but on a part-time basis.
As for Bon Appétit and sister publication Epicurious, in a lengthy Instagram post Wednesday, the staffs of the Condé Nast-owned food brands called the photo “deeply offensive” and “horrific” on its own, but added that it “speaks to the much broader and long-standing impact of racism at these brands.”
“While we’ve hired more people of color, we have continued to tokenize many BIPOC staffers and contributors in our videos and on our pages,” said one part of the post. “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. Black staffers have been saddled with contributing racial education to our staffs and appearing in editorial and promotional photo shoots to make our brands seem more diverse. We haven’t properly learned from or taken ownership of our mistakes.”
They added, though, that things will change, including prioritizing people of color for the editor in chief candidate pool, anti-racism training, resolving any pay inequities and assisting Condé Nast’s internal investigation “to hold individual offenders accountable.” Molly Baz, a white senior food editor with a strong social media following, previously wrote that she would not appear in any Bon Appétit videos until her BIPOC colleagues receive equal pay and are fairly compensated for their appearances.
On Tuesday, Condé Nast named Amanda Shapiro acting deputy director. She was previously the editor of Healthyish, a digital offshoot of Bon Appétit. The New York Times reported that she told staffers that she plans to be in the role on an interim basis and will push for a person of color to take on the editor in chief title.
But this came as more offensive social media posts resurfaced. This time, they were by Matt Duckor, a vice president for Condé Nast, who was previously in charge of Bon Appétit’s popular videos. Among other comments, he tweeted “working out is so gay” and said “@SamSifton are you in Harlem with the black people and Asian same-sex couples? #kidding #diversity.” He apologized for the tweets, which he said were more than 10 years old.
Late Wednesday Condé Nast confirmed a Business Insider report that he had left the company.