After Bon Appétit’s Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport stepped down from his position following allegations from staff members of racism, the natural next question was what was going to happen to Anna Wintour? The New York Times wondered if she’d survive this “social justice moment.” For decades, the longtime editor-in-chief of Vogue and artistic director at Condé Nast has embodied the company’s sense of exclusivity and glamour which has kept diverse voices from appearing on mastheads and in magazine pages.
Wintour admitted as much in an apology to the public and her staff, writing, “I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators.” Wintour emphasized that Vogue has published images and stories “that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes.”
Truer words were never spoken! And after Instagram Diet Prada posted a highlight reel of Vogue’s most controversial moments, Jezebel thought it would be fun to unearth some of the decade of reporting this site has done on Vogue’s racism around the world.
The brand has a history of publishing racist editorials, from blackface editorials in the Netherlands and Paris (the latter denying it was racist), fashion spreads poking fun at poor black people and Latinas in Italy, and putting designer goods on impoverished children in India. And who could forget that that infamous King Kong-inspired cover with LeBron? After the backlash began, the magazine then ran interviews with black models to prove they weren’t racist.
They once put Beyoncé on the cover emphasizing her “curves.” Even an all-black model spread, intended to diversify Vogue Italia’s pages, still managed to conform to a certain type of eurocentric beauty. When Halle Berry was featured on Vogue’s 2010 September issue, she was the first black woman to be featured on the magazine’s September issue since 1989's cover with Naomi Campbell.
In the past, editors have resigned over racist birthday photos, told readers who criticized racist editorials to seek psychiatric help, referred to designer earrings as “slave earrings,” and mixed up women of color in editorials. The magazine has long focused on young, white, thin talent in its pages. Model Beverly Johnson, the first black woman to appear on Vogue, says Anna Wintour ignored her at the magazine’s 100th anniversary party. Wintour once told Oprah Winfrey to lose weight for her Vogue cover and has defended the magazine’s excessive use of Photoshop. André Leon Talley dubbed her a “colonial broad.”