The troubles continue at Bon Appétit, with Ryan Walker-Hartshorn and Jesse Sparks, the only two remaining black editorial staff members, choosing to walk away from the food magazine for good over pay inequality concerns.
This news comes a day after Molly Baz announced that she would no longer participate in the popular Bon Appétit Test Kitchen videos, in solidarity with three staff members of colour, who quit over an ongoing equal pay dispute.
Walker-Hartshorn and Sparks both announced their resignations weeks ago, but Friday was their last day. Both have accused parent company Condé Nast of failing to value their contributions, and using them as props for diversity.
Speaking out prior to her departure, Ryan Walker-Hartshorn said she had unsuccessfully sought a raise in line with the work she was doing at the company, and that she no longer wished to work in an environment where her value was “constantly undermined.”
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Sparks said he started out at Bon Appétit in a freelancer role, and:
“… showed up early, stayed late, edited myself and how I navigated the office, took on responsibilities that weren’t technically in my job description, and kept the complaining minimal. The type of things Black freelancers often get pressured to do.”
He said that in spite of his hard work over a number of years, he never felt valued for his contributions and was only ever offered a token raise of $1600 annually to move into a full-time position.
ANTYWAYS, HI! I’m Jesse Sparks. I write, edit, tweet, and make truly atrocious dad jokes. For the last two and a half years, I’ve worked as an editorial assistant for BA but really did more than the title let’s on.That all ended on Friday, August 7. (A thread)
— Jesse Sparks (@JesseASparks) August 8, 2020
Condé Nast addressed the departures in a statement, saying:
“Jesse and Ryan were valued members of the team and we worked with them to address their concerns about former leadership at the brand. We very much wanted them to be part of the new team under a new editor in chief and offered them enhanced terms to stay through the transition. We respect their decision and wish them the very best.”