🚨Special episode just dropped: A RECKONING AT BON APPETIT. We talk with @rrpre @nikitarbk and Sohla El-Waylly about racism at the beloved brand, and whether a toxic workplace can change. Up now, get it. pic.twitter.com/EoDTo4WBpP— Dan Pashman (@TheSporkful) June 14, 2020
Summary of The Sporkful podcast that I just listened to:
-Adam had a Zoom meeting with the staff (like 40 people) where he apologized for the brownface. After nobody said anything, he went to conclude the meeting when Sohla said that she actually thought that he should step down. This led to other POC staffers and one white person also voicing their agreement. Adam said that maybe he should, but that also maybe he should stay on to turn around the culture at the brand. That made Sohla blow up and yell at everyone (basically the white people who'd largely been silent) that because people were hiding behind black boxes on Zoom and not saying anything, that that's why things (racism etc.) had been allowed to happen and continue. Because she yelled at them, finally the white people also started voicing their discontent with him.
-After the meeting, she posted her instastory that went viral about how she and other POC staffers were not being paid for video. Shortly thereafter Adam stepped down from EIC which thrilled her. The next day or so, their video head, Matt Duckor, stepped down after past tweets of him being racist were found. (Also, let's not forget Rick's powerful instastory that was about him.) Duckor was the one who wanted Priya to only make Indian food. (this is important to note, because people are always complaining in the youtube comments about her always making everything Indian. This also may mean that when Sohla wanted to make Bengalese food, he could say that they already have Priya making Indian food.)
-Sohla said that people had a lot of problems with Matt because the video content he wanted them to produce was often stuff that they would never put in the magazine, and when she would go to him about covering something like her chicken biryani recipe for the mag that was really popular, he would turn it down (I know another chef mentioned this as well - that the work they did for video would never go in the magazine. It sounds like it was a common complaint among the chefs.) He got a bonus for videos doing well, which Sohla believes is part of why he refused to take risks outside of basic white food. She had also been asking for a video contract for months, but he kept stringing her along with "oh it's tied up in legal. it's coming tomorrow. just do this video now," but with COVID, she was doing all this extra work at home (video, sound, lighting, dishwashing on top of recipe creation), and NOT BEING PAID FOR IT, so she was pissed.
-The host asked about how she felt about some of her coworkers statements. She said she got a good e-mail from Molly (I believe Molly was the white person calling for Adam's resignation, since she was the first chef to say she wouldn't record video till the others were paid, which forced the other video stars to also make that pledge, and she seems to hate Adam's guts, but Sohla didn't actually say who, so that's just my speculation.) She said that Brad seems to have just discovered that racism is real. (lol. reminds me of that user here who said she knows Hunzi, and that Brad isn't MAGA, just a dumbass.)
-Sohla said that after her instastory went viral, she was immediately offered a contract and backpay, but she said that since everyone has pledged not to do video until people are all paid for a video, she hasn't signed the contract. I think she's holding out for a better contract. She also said that they're not only negotiating for video contracts, but also living wages for everybody at BA.
-When Sohla applied to BA, the interview rounds lasted 6 weeks. She had heard of racism there, but felt like some level of microaggressions were just part of life, and ironically, she thought it wouldn't be that bad because she had watched the videos, and Gaby (Test Kitchen Manager) was Argentinian and had worked her way up from intern (glorified dishwasher), so she thought that there must be some level of support, which of course turned out to be not true.
-If she could make anything for a video, what would she make? A video on how to temper chocolate.
-Nikita used to work at BA. She was let go during a layoff round. She said when Ryan was hired to be Adam's assistant, she was so happy to see another black woman there and was absolutely crushed when Nikita was laid off. Says the current interim EIC stole the story she did all the legwork for about a black linecook. Talks about the email she got from Carla, and Adam being casually racist by saying he wanted his coffee like Rihanna when he told Ryan to get him coffee.
-He also interviewed the reporter, Rachel Premack, who wrote that viral article detailing BA's casual racism and toxic work environment.
smilofax pointed out that, "Business Insider journalist also mentioned that BA heads had promised they would get a perm. black on-screen personality 6 months ago but it never happened. I think that may have been the same time they had those videos with Hawa. This is frustrating to hear that they just dropped it when viewers had been calling for a black chef for years.
Here's the reddit post discussing the podcast with more summaries and timestamps in the comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/bon_appetit/comments/h8itpk/a_reckoning_at_bon_appetit_a_sporkful_episode_on/
This podcast was a really good listen, and I encourage you all to listen to it, if you've been following this at all. If you're a bit lost, this can help catch you up. I think that this was recorded before Delaney's racist, sexist, and homophobic posts came out, so the podcast did not touch on that.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, my ears