On May 7, cookbook author and recipe columnist Alison Roman was trying to plot out a future in the food world without selling out or turning into a caricature. Nearly two weeks later, her biweekly food column for The New York Times is on temporary hiatus after she lambasted Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo’s career choices in an interview that quickly went viral.
A spokesman for the Times confirmed that Roman’s column was on “temporary leave.” He declined to comment further. The Daily Beast broke the news earlier Tuesday.
The Times hit the pause button on Roman’s recipes after the author started dishing on Teigen and organization maven Kondo in an interview this month with the New Consumer. Both objects of Roman’s ire are, as many noted, women of color. On Teigen, Roman suggested the model and fellow cookbook author had sold out:
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“She had a successful cookbook. And then it was like: Boom, line at Target. Boom, now she has an Instagram page that has over a million followers where it’s just, like, people running a content farm for her. That horrifies me and it’s not something that I ever want to do. I don’t aspire to that. But like, who’s laughing now? Because she’s making a ton of [expletive] money.”
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Roman then alerted readers to what she considered the hypocrisy of Kondo leading the charge to declutter our lives while trying to sell us more stuff at the same time. “Like the idea that when Marie Kondo decided to capitalize on her fame and make stuff that you can buy, that is completely antithetical to everything she’s ever taught you,” Roman told the New Consumer’s Dan Frommer.
The comments sparked a wide-ranging conversation on social media about white privilege, white feminism, a lack of diversity in food media, casual racism, hollow apologies, women who take down women, online conspiracy theories, the inanity of celebrity feuds and other topics, some obviously more weighty than others.
Roman initially deflected and offered what some considered an insincere apology. But on May 11, she wrote a full-throated mea culpa that apparently went a long way toward mending her relationship with Teigen. It should be noted that Teigen said she had “signed on to executive produce” a TV cooking show starring Roman. Teigen accepted the apology graciously, offering her own Twitter thread in return.
“I still think you are incredibly talented. And in an industry that doesn’t really lend itself to supporting more than a handful of people at a time, I feel like all we have are each other!” Teigen tweeted.
The news about Roman’s leave of absence with the Times was in the early stages of Twitter commentary by Tuesday evening.