Bon Appetit, Refinery29 editors step down as calls for racial justice continue to reshape media landscape

Less than 24 hours after Editorial Page Editor James Bennet resigned from The New York Times, the ongoing social upheaval over racial injustice continues to force changes across the media industry.

On Monday, editors at Bon Appétit and Refinery29 resigned amid staff protest over their leadership, various outlets faced scrutiny over their treatment of black staffers and one publication said it would support its journalists’ right to protest.

The changes come as media companies are being forced, often by their own staff, to reassess their role in the fight for racial justice, whether that means rethinking diversity inside the company or re-examining their commitment to editorial “objectivity.”

Adam Rapoport Nick Hunt / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images file

Adam Rapoport, the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit, resigned after a photo surfaced showing him in brownface and amid allegations that the magazine discriminated against people of color. In a statement, Rapoport said he needed “to reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and… allow Bon Appétit to get to a better place.”

Christene Barberich, the editor and co-founder of Refinery29, announced she would step down after several employees said they had been discriminated against while working at the company. “We have to do better,” Barberich said in a statement, “and that starts with making room.”

Meanwhile, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is facing scrutiny after an NPR report showed that the paper’s editors banned a black reporter from covering protests because of tweets they deemed to be biased. But those editors did not take similar action on tweets from a white reporter, the NPR report showed.

Finally, Jim VandeHei, the co-founder and CEO of Axios, announced Monday that his company would take the rare move of supporting Axios journalists who take part in public protests and would cover bail or assist with medical bills if they were arrested or physically harmed.



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