On Monday, November 16, Vogue documented the wedding of beauty industry publicist Chelsea Keyes and sneaker and collectible portfolio manager Evan McDuffie. They initially planned to marry in June, but were told by their original venue in Edgartown, Massachusetts, that they could only have 17 people at the wedding. So the two canceled, downsized by 100 guests, and moved their celebration to somewhere else in Martha’s Vineyard. She wore Jenny Yoo, as did her bridesmaids, while he wore Bonobos with a Gucci bowtie. Of the experience, Keyes told Vogue, “I want people to know that even during a pandemic, love prevails.”
And then 10 guests and workers got coronavirus, and Vogue took the story down.
On Wednesday, The Vineyard Gazette reported that the 1000-word, 68-photograph story had been scrubbed from Vogue’s website. (Which is still archived here.) The Gazette noted that the deletion came amid news that a 10-case coronavirus cluster had “apparently stemmed from the event,” and a resident of the island sent an angry letter to Anna Wintour “excoriating the story and informing Ms. Wintour that the wedding had been responsible for the coronavirus case cluster.”
In a response to the Gazette, a spokesperson for Vogue told the paper that it had covered its bases, and that leadership at Vogue “ensured the appropriate measures were being taken to prevent the spread of covid-19 at the event.” The venue where the wedding was held, Lambert’s Cove Inn, also emailed a lengthy response to the Gazette:
“As a family-owned inn, restaurant and event venue, we have gone above and beyond to follow CDC and state guidelines regarding Covid-related safety measures. For example, we have consistently adhered to size limits for events and ensured our staff follow mask and social distancing requirements,” the statement continues. “We have also informed all our guests of mask wearing and out-of-state travel requirements and enforced these to the extent possible. The health and safety of our staff and guests are our top priority.”
However, the Gazette first reported on “coronavirus-related fallout from the wedding” in October, weeks before Vogue published its story. In the time since, health officials have also warned that infection numbers could be much higher than reported since many guests broke interstate travel laws to attend the wedding.
Spokespeople for Vogue have clarified to Page Six that “an editorial decision (which of course Anna is involved in) was made” when the story was taken down. But in an ideal editorial process, the story would not be removed; instead, it would be updated with plenty of clarification, as well as an explanation and update as to the dangers of having large weddings during a pandemic. But for the embattled former fashion giant, whose editorial processes have come under scrutiny during the pandemic—not to mention the implosion of Bon Appetit under Wintour’s leadership as Condé Nast’s artistic director—I’m sure a superspreader scandal simply wouldn’t do.
In hindsight, Keye’s frothy, heartfelt quotes to Vogue take on a sinister tone: “We were nervous to cut down our guest list, and there were so many family members and friends who were missed, but the outcome was a personal and magical occasion we will never forget.” The people stricken with coronavirus will also probably never forget.