Condé Nast named Amanda Shapiro as the acting deputy director of Bon Appétit on Tuesday, after the swift fall of the magazine’s former editor-in-chief, Adam Rapoport, who resigned on Monday.
Shapiro was the editor at Healthyish, a newsletter and digital companion to the magazine, and had recently taken on more editing duties at Bon Appétit after Julia Kramer, the deputy editor, left on May 29, a move that had been long planned.
Shapiro told Condé Nast managers and members of the Bon Appétit staff that she would take the job only on a temporary basis, and pressed for a person of color to be named as the new editor-in-chief.
Reached by phone, Shapiro said she did not want to comment on her transition or her plans for the magazine.
The staff of Bon Appétit, the national food magazine whose test kitchen videos are among the hottest cooking programming on the internet, spent the day trying to figure out how to move forward after the abrupt resignation of Rapoport.
But even as they did, new controversies arose. Posts appeared on social media that called for the resignation of Matt Duckor, a vice president in charge of programming for Condé Nast who oversees the magazine’s videos, along with what seemed to be old tweets of his, in which he made jokes about gay men, same-sex couples, black people and Asian people.
A spokesman for Condé Nast said that the company and Duckor (whose wife, Dawn Perry, has written freelance articles for The New York Times) were discussing the matter and that no decisions on future staffing changes had been made.
The issues at Bon Appétit were just one topic at a town-hall meeting Tuesday, in which Roger Lynch, the chief executive of Condé Nast, was asked about troubling tweets from other company employees, including sexually suggestive comments about women and one about a Mexican waiter by Oren Katzeff, the head of Condé Nast Entertainment. The tweets were reported in a Daily Beast article on Tuesday.
The fall of Rapoport — who for 20 years embodied a certain style of Condé Nast editor as the style editor at GQ and then editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit — unfolded rapidly.
Illyanna Maisonet, a Puerto Rican food writer, posted excerpts from a text exchange with Rapoport that she said was condescending, after an editor rejected her idea for an article about Puerto Rican food. Tammie Teclemariam, who writes for several food and wine publications and The Wirecutter (which is owned by The New York Times), followed Monday by posting on Twitter an Instagram photo from a 2004 Halloween party showing Rapoport and his wife dressed as a stereotype of a Puerto Rican couple.
“I do not know why Adam Rapoport simply doesn’t write about Puerto Rican food for @bonappetit himself!!!” Teclemariam wrote.
But among both staff and outside food writers, issues of race, gender and culture under Rapoport’s leadership had been simmering long before his exit. What kind of food and which personalities get star treatment and pay have also been topics of significant concern.
In recent months, Rapoport and other managers had agreed to work harder on diversity issues, but staff members said those efforts fell short.
Now, with Rapoport’s departure, questions about fairness in compensation, cultural awareness and how a legacy publication should make itself more inclusive for its staff and readers are laid out on the table. It is a cultural shift that other food publications are navigating as well, and comes as the entire nation is in the midst of a summer of protests and social distancing.
Bon Appétit has built the success of its video world with a younger, more diverse staff, which has attracted a new audience with better cooking skills than any generation before it. The wildly successful Bon Appétit videos are overseen by a separate entity called Condé Nast Entertainment, and the pay structure for its talent is different than that for the magazine.
Several of the more popular and well-compensated stars of the test kitchen videos vowed on social media Monday to not appear in videos until their colleagues were fairly compensated.
Staff members at the magazine, the video department and Epicurious, the online recipe site that is part of the Bon Appétit family, spent Tuesday in a heated virtual meeting and working on a joint statement they hoped to release soon. Among other things, they discussed how to bring attention to the role other managers played in creating what they said was an inequitable workplace.
Duckor on Monday distanced himself from Rapoport on Twitter, and took responsibility for his role in what he called a flawed system of compensation.
Others were discussing whether to try to unionize.
But there was also a feeling of hope, some said.
“We are feeling really supported right now by the public and our readers,” said Joseph Hernandez, the research director of Bon Appétit. “The question is how do you move forward. It’s that balance between the work everybody loves doing and the change that needs happen.”