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Condé Nast launches investigation into a top executive who staff say ignored their calls to diversify Bon Appétit Test Kitchen videos


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Condé Nast launches investigation into a top executive who staff say ignored their calls to diversify Bon Appétit Test Kitchen videos

Condé Nast has launched an investigation into vice president Matt Duckor, five sources confirmed to Business Insider.He is the head of lifestyle and style programming at the publisher. In a Business Insider investigation published on Tuesday, current and former staffers said that Duckor failed to include non-white talent in Bon Appétit’s video content. Do you have more…

Condé Nast launches investigation into a top executive who staff say ignored their calls to diversify Bon Appétit Test Kitchen videos
  • Condé Nast has launched an investigation into vice president Matt Duckor, five sources confirmed to Business Insider.
  • He is the head of lifestyle and style programming at the publisher. 
  • In a Business Insider investigation published on Tuesday, current and former staffers said that Duckor failed to include non-white talent in Bon Appétit’s video content. 
  • Do you have more stories from inside media you want to tell? Email rpremack@businessinsider.com.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Condé Nast has launched an investigation into Matt Duckor, who is the head of lifestyle and style programming at the publisher. 

Five Bon Appétit staffers told Business Insider that interim editor-in-chief Amanda Shapiro shared that Duckor is under investigation after several homophobic and racist tweets of his have surfaced. One tweet reads, “tough day meeting with loads of hot Asian women with Anna not being able to say anything about you checking them out… yeah, rough.”

In a Business Insider investigation published on Tuesday, current and former staffers said that Duckor failed to include non-white talent in Bon Appétit’s video content. 

Bon Appétit’s leadership team has been under fire since this weekend, after a photo of former editor-in-chief Adam Rapaport dressed in stereotypical Puerto Rican garb surfaced. 

Shapiro and Duckor did not respond to a Business Insider request for comment. Condé Nast declined to comment on the internal investigation. 

—noah (@noahadamz) June 9, 2020

Duckor, who is a vice president at Condé Nast, heads video for Bon Appétit, along with Condé Nast brands Architectural Digest and Vogue. Video has become a cash cow for the struggling media company in recent years.

Current Bon Appétit contributor Priya Krishna and Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, who is the assistant to the editor-in-chief, said they had repeatedly expressed concerns to key leadership, including Rapoport and Duckor, about the lack of diversity on the masthead, in the magazine, and on video.

“My concerns were acknowledged, but I witnessed little to no action on this,” Krishna said in an email to Business Insider. “Most big decision-making meetings continue to be dominated by white staff.”

A representative from Condé Nast said the company was “listening and are taking seriously the concerns raised by our Bon Appétit team members.” To that effect, the representative said the company was “accelerating” its Diversity and Inclusion report, to publish this summer, and a pay-equity analysis, to publish at the end of 2020.

The joint staffs of Bon Appétit and Epicurious released a statement apologizing for the brands’ “toxic, top-down culture.” The statement said people of color would be “prioritized” for the next editor-in-chief, that anti-racism training would be implemented, and that it would address pay inequities.

A petition with more than 5,000 signatures from Bon Appétit readers is calling for Duckor’s resignation.

bon appetit team

Some of the Test Kitchen’s beloved cast.

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


Alyse Whitney, who was an associate editor from 2016 to 2019, told Business Insider that Duckor repeatedly dismissed her when she offered her skills as on-camera video talent. Whitney had experience hosting food videos for the Food Network and the Cooking Channel.

She described an incident in 2018 in which she pitched and produced a project featuring Ina Garten as a guest editor. Whitney had cooked with Garten, the Food Network star, for the package, and wrote around 10 pieces of content for it.

“I emailed him and other video staff on an email chain submitting myself for the video and then added that the Test Kitchen video talent lacked diversity,” Whitney told Business Insider. “He ignored the diversity comment and replied, ‘Carla will do it. Thanks.'”

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The video team led by Duckor instead had Carla Lalli-Music, then the brand’s food director, cook with Garten for the Test Kitchen video.

Whitney later pushed back on Duckor’s choice, explaining that her on-camera experience made her a good choice and that the Test Kitchen lacked diversity. Whitney is Korean-American. Duckor allegedly responded, “Well, we have Priya,” referring to Krishna, the Indian-American contributor at Bon Appétit. 

That attitude continues, according to contributor Rick Martinez. 

On Wednesday, Duckor called Martinez, according to Martinez’s Instagram Story, and confirmed later to Business Insider. Duckor apologized to Martinez for his racist and homophobic comments. 

“I asked him if, in the future, his children used that language, what he would do?” Martinez wrote on Instagram. “The first thing he said was ‘be supportive like my parents have been to me.’ WRONG ANSWER.”

He added, “You teach them that it is WRONG AND HURTFUL and that you NEVER USE THOSE WORDS.”

Do you have more stories from inside media you want to tell? Email rpremack@businessinsider.com.

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