Bon Appetit has today announced their new team for their beloved video division after months of racism and pay inequality complaints, and fans are *not* happy.
Following the intense (and completely warranted) backlash, Bon Appetit has made an effort to diversify their staff, hiring a number of people of colour in senior roles, presumably in an attempt to avoid these issues in future.
“We have been listening, learning, and building something together that showcases our best. We are here to build a team that is empathetic, respectful, and open to being challenged; is paid fairly for their contributions; and that represents the audience we hope to serve. You’re going to see new shows, new and familiar faces, and a whole lot of new recipes,” new Executive Editor Sonia Chopra wrote on Instagram, alongside a video of the new team.
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Hi, it’s executive editor @soniachopra here with a few updates on BA video. We have been listening, learning, and building something together that showcases our best. We are here to build a team that is empathetic, respectful, and open to being challenged; is paid fairly for their contributions; and that represents the audience we hope to serve. You’re going to see new shows, new and familiar faces, and a whole lot of new recipes. We won’t be returning to the BA Test Kitchen this year, but we are so excited to welcome you back to our channel with new shows, new and familiar faces, and a whole lot of new recipes. Stay tuned to see videos from @andybaraghani, @brad_leone, @moroccochris, @tuna__turner, @cheftianagee, @meltronica, @samanthaseneviratne, @eatwithchrissy, @chefharoldvillarosa, @chefrawlstonw, @claudetteazepeda.
At this point, most of the team we all know and love have yeeted out of the Test Kitchen, including Sohla El-Waylly, Priya Krishna, Gaby Melian, Molly Baz, Claire Saffitz and Carla Lalli Music. Obviously, this means any attempt at reviving the Test Kitchen would be a completely new experience, but that’s not why fans are annoyed.
The new team, which still includes favourites like Brad Leone and Chris Morocco, is undoubtedly more diverse (which is good), but fans of the show were quick to point out that Bon Appetit seemingly hired new POC staff after refusing to pay their old staff fairly.
Many commented that the new staff must be cheaper, making it feel like tokenism from Bon Appetit, rather than actual change for good.
“But you guys could have just paid the previous employees fairly? I’ll follow their careers instead,” one fan wrote.
“Soooo instead of paying your original POC creators, you found new ones that will take less money? Tokenism at its finest everyone,” another added.
Fans urged Conde Nast Entertainment (the parent company of Bon Appetit) to reveal how much the new staff are being paid, while others pointed out that it simply looks like forced diversity.
“I’m all for diversity, but this is a classic example of forced diversity. Your channel is what it was because of the old crew. Instead of paying those people properly, you have just resorted to tokenism instead. Sad,” another fan commented.
The response has been overwhelmingly negative, which seemingly illustrates that Bon Appetit really missed the mark with this one.
It’ll be interesting to see how the new channel actually is received when it launches next year, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that it clearly doesn’t have the same power as it did with the likes of Sohla.