Former Condé Nast Employees Skeptical That Publisher Didn’t Know About Diversity Complaints

Company to conduct “internal studies” about diversity and pay, CEO Roger Lynch said during Tuesday town hall

A Conde Nast company-wide town hall on Tuesday about diversity and pay equity drew skepticism and scorn from former employees.

“Conde is apparently holding a company-wide Town Hall right now and are planning to conduct internal ‘studies’ about diversity and pay equity – then will take action ‘by ‘the end of the summer. Thanks so much to all! Gets right to the root of the problem! Enjoy Block Island!” former editor Elizabeth Thompson tweeted sarcastically.

Thompson added, “Roger Lynch, CEO, just told staff re: pay and diversity ‘truthfully, if these concerns had been brought up earlier, we could have dealt with them sooner.’”

Sebastian Modak, formerly of Condé Nast Traveler, wrote Lynch’s reported comments caused an “actual spit take.”

Justine Harman, who worked at Glamour, wrote, “In the single town hall meeting I attended with Lynch, several junior staffers (from BA and Allure) brought up a lack of diversity and inclusion efforts. They were insistent and hard to miss. I asked something utterly forgettable about brand mundanity across titles.”

Their reactions came on the heels of the resignation of Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport after an old Instagram photo of him in brownface resurfaced on Monday . The photo drew widespread backlash, which prompted a larger conversation on social media surrounding the culture at the magazine — and parent company Condé Nast — and how non-white staff members are compensated and treated.

Assistant BA food editor Sohla El-Waylly, who had called for Rapoport’s resignation earlier in the day, said that only white BA editors have been compensated for appearing in video content on the magazine’s popular YouTube channel, whereas none of the people of color have.

El-Waylly’s comments also led other popular hosts on the channel, including senior food editor Molly Baz and food editor Carla Lalli Music, to say they would not be appearing in any more videos until their BIPOC colleagues were compensated equally and fairly for appearing in videos.

Alex Lau, a former senior staff photographer for BA, also criticized the magazine’s lack of diversity in the “restaurants/communities” it represented and said one of the “main reasons” he left was because “white leadership refused to make changes that my BIPOC coworkers and I constantly pushed for.”

A representative for Condé Nast didn’t immediately return a request for comment on the town hall.