Three of Bon Appétit’s most beloved video stars, Priya Krishna, Rick Martinez, and Sohla El-Waylly, announced on Thursday that they will no longer appear in videos following failed contract negotiations for video appearances.
Business Insider’s Rachel Premack reports that Martinez is leaving the company entirely, while El-Waylly will keep writing recipes and content for the magazine and website and Krishna will freelance for the brand’s website and magazine.
The exodus of the three video personalities comes in the midst of a reckoning within Bon Appétit. In June editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport resigned from his position after a photo of him wearing brownface were circulated widely on the Internet by food writer Tammie Teclemariam. Shortly after the photo circulated, El-Waylly shared on Instagram that people of color were not compensated for video appearances on the BA Youtube channel, telling Jezebel that she was never compensated for her videos despite being a crucial member of the channel.
All members of the channel refused to shoot more videos until everyone was given a fair contract and Condé Nast publicized flimsy diversity initiatives in response to reports of racism at the brand, promising a “Diversity and Inclusion report” and a pay equity study. But the company failed to deliver a fair contract, according to Krishna, Martinez, and El-Waylly. “These past few months have been disappointing and insulting,” Krishna wrote in a tweeted statement. “I am constantly being told that I am an important part of the test kitchen, yet leadership refuses to acknowledge that in the form of compensation of opportunities.”
The departures follow five weeks of contract negotiations for Martinez and Krishna, after which they say they both received contracts that included a $1,000 day rate for hosted videos, $625 for videos that other kitchen members appeared in for two minutes or longer, and no compensation for any appearance in a video where their contributions were shorter than two minutes. The contract also guaranteed 10 appearances per year, a scant number compared to white video talent, some of whom were guaranteed 60 appearances per year. Even with the new contracts, Martinez and Krishna said they would still be paid less than their white colleagues.
Business Insider reports that contract negotiations are still ongoing for other members of the brand’s Youtube channel, but the future of the channel is unclear. “If just part of the team returns and then new random brown people, that’s so transparent — people aren’t that stupid. But maybe if they get Beyonce I’ll watch,” El-Waylly told the site.