- Three of the Test Kitchen stars from Bon Appétit are leaving the famous video channel.
- Rick Martinez, Sohla El-Waylly and Priya Krishna told business insiders that they would no longer appear in Test Kitchen videos. They shared on their Instagram stories on Thursday why they decided to leave.
- All of Bon Appétit’s on-camera talent has refused to host videos since early June when Talent of Color said it paid less than its white counterparts.
- A Condé Nast representative said the video team worked with every member of the test kitchen to seek fair compensation. They added that the pay depends on the roles and experience of the employees.
- “It is simply not true to claim that we pay individuals differently depending on race, gender or for other reasons,”
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
After five weeks of contract negotiations, three of the Test Kitchen stars from Bon Appétit are leaving the popular video channel.
Priya Krishna, a contributing writer, Rick Martinez, a contributing food editor, and Sohla El-Waylly, a deputy food editor, told business insiders that they would no longer appear in videos.
They represent three of the six colored people that are featured regularly in the Test Kitchen videos.
El-Waylly remains in her role in writing recipes and other content for Bon Appétits magazine and website, while Krishna and Martinez continue to work freelance on the brand’s editorial side.
Krishna, Martinez and El-Waylly announced their departure in their separate Instagram stories. Krishna also announced her exit on Twitter.
– Priya Krishna (@priyakrishna), August 6, 2020
Bon Appétit has not released any new videos since June 5, although the print and online versions of the magazine have continued their usual edition.
The Condé Nast publication has been in turmoil since early June when two of its leaders resigned. Adam Rapoport, who was editor-in-chief until June 8, and Matt Duckor, who directed video programming for Condé Nast brands such as Bon Appétit until June 10, left the company on charges of abusive behavior and racial discrimination.
Weeks of contract negotiations failed
Current Bon Appétit employees previously informed Business Insider that the test kitchen had a two-tier compensation system.
Employees said that some Test Kitchen talents were paid for each video they appeared on, while others were not compensated for their video work. Bon Appétit employees said that most of the talent paid was white, while most non-compensated talent was colored.
A representative from Condé Nast said the video team had been working with every employee on camera for the past few weeks “to address all concerns and communicate fair pay structures, including standardized price lists, for freelancers and editors that are SAG / AFTRA in many ways – Exceed standards. ” Employees who contribute to the video. “
The representative emphasized that contributors and employees are paid fairly.
“We pay all of our employees fairly and according to their role and experience,” they said. “Our compensation practices are industry-standard. To say that we pay individuals differently based on race, gender, or any other reason is simply not true.”
Hours before Rapoport stepped down on June 8, El-Waylly said on an Instagram story that she wasn’t paid for her video appearances, adding that despite 15 years of culinary experience, she was on a starting salary of $ 50,000 with the company.
Following their posts, Bon Appétit white video stars said on their social media channels that they would no longer appear in videos until their color peers were appropriately compensated.
The contract negotiations with Condé Nast Entertainment – the publisher’s video arm – started in mid-June, the talent said. El-Waylly received a new version of their contract on June 8, she told Business Insider. It offered a $ 20,000 raise; El-Waylly previously said she was “offended and horrified” by this offer, as other stars should earn much more per episode fees over time.
On June 19, she informed Condé Nast Entertainment that she would no longer host or appear in videos.
Condé Nast Entertainment executives announced in a staff-wide Zoom meeting on June 25th that they would be unveiling initiatives in August that address diversity, talent development, community and education.
However, Condé Nast Entertainment employees previously told Business Insider that little action had been taken to commit to more inclusion. El-Waylly said she felt Condé Nast Entertainment did not set clear goals for increasing diversity behind and in front of the camera.
“I think they are very risk averse,” El-Waylly told Business Insider. “I think more people with color are becoming more visible in food media. It’s more of a progressive thought, but Condé is a bit conservative and risk-averse. Maybe they’ll do it cool in five years after someone else does it.”
A Condé Nast representative said in June that the company will publish a diversity and inclusion report and a pay equity study this summer by the end of 2020. “In the future, we will prioritize and respond to the wishes of our teams to promote more open and integrative workplace culture with new management and we will work to ensure that this happens,” said the representative.
The contract battles for Krishna and Martinez lasted five weeks, they said. Both received identical contracts at different times, reflecting a new remuneration structure: a daily rate of $ 1,000 for hosted videos, $ 625 for videos where other talent members appeared for two minutes or more, and $ 0 for videos where their appearances were shorter than two minutes. The contract was reviewed by Business Insider.
Condé Nast Entertainment management announced to all Bon Appétit video talent of the new structure on June 18 in a Zoom appeal that these awards represented base pay, meaning that some were eligible to earn more per appearance than advertised. Martinez and Krishna said they only received this basic pay.
The same contract, in which the daily rate was given, also guaranteed 10 video appearances per year. This was different from the contracts Martinez reviewed that some of their white counterparts had received, where guaranteed appearances were up to 60, he said.
Martinez and Krishna said this would have meant a cut in wages for Martinez and a very slight impairment for Krishna. Ultimately, they would still be paid less than their white counterparts.
Martinez said it is unclear why Condé Nast Entertainment is unable or unwilling to provide a significant wage increase for the three color chefs. “It’s just amazing with this company,” said Martinez. “The only thing I can find out in my head is that the sanctity of the institution is more important than some of the people who work there.”
What will happen to the test kitchen?
As of Thursday, negotiations were underway for all of the company’s employees, with the exception of Krishna, Martinez and El-Waylly.
With the departure of these three stars, it is clear that when the test kitchen returns, it will not be the one fans have fallen in love with. A Condé Nast representative said in August that the on-camera programming of new and returning talent is imminent.
“As new managers will be added to both Condé Nast Entertainment and Bon Appétit in the coming weeks, new video programs with new and recurring talents will be announced,” said the representative.
El-Waylly predicted that the test kitchen would take the path of Condé Nast’s other video brands such as Vogue and GQ, which are mainly celebrities who offer guaranteed clicks and cash to the publisher.
“I don’t think they will ever invest in ordinary people again,” said El-Waylly. “If only part of the team returns, and then new random brown people, it’s so transparent – people aren’t that stupid. But if they get Beyoncé, maybe I’ll watch.”