Five weeks after Sohla El-Waylly and Illyanna Maisonet publicly addressed the systemic racism they’d experienced in the Bon Appétit workplace, the company began negotiations with current employees to address their compensation in future videos.
According to Business Insider, the proposed contract offered stars like El-Waylly and Rick Martinez a base pay rate of $1,000 per day for hosted videos, but only guaranteed involvement in 10 videos per year. In contrast, some white producers had been guaranteed at least 60 videos per year. The end result: some BIPOC employees like El-Waylly and Martinez would still make significantly less than white Bon Appétit employees with the same job description.
In August 2020, “Test Kitchen” stars Sohla El-Waylly, Priya Krishna, Rick Martinez, Molly Baz, Gaby Melian, Carla Lalli Music, and Amiel Stanek confirmed via Instagram and Twitter that they would not be renewing their contracts to appear in future videos.
Martinez and El-Waylly’s posts have since been deleted.
On August 6, 2020, El-Waylly confirmed that she would continue to work at Bon Appétit developing recipes but would no longer appear on camera, adding, “No hate to the editors who’ve decided to stay, it’s just not the right thing for me.”
In her post on August 6, 2020, Priya Krishna confirmed that “the contract I received was nowhere near equitable [with my non-POC coworkers], and actually would potentially allow for me to make even less than I do currently,” and for this reason she would not renew her contract to produce Bon Appétit videos. She added, “To my BIPOC peers: Don’t settle. Recognize your worth — these publications need us more than we need them.”
In his message posted on August 6, 2020, Rick Martinez went into more personal detail, explaining that “after 5 weeks of negotiation, it is clear that I will not get a fair pay rate nor will I get a comparable number of appearances to my colleagues in the test kitchen,” therefore he would not renew his contract or appear in any videos for the foreseeable future. He concluded, “Even in a pandemic, during an economic recession, after I just closed on a house, I could not sign that contract. My happiness and my self-worth are more important to me than returning to the test kitchen.”
On August 7, 2020, “Test Kitchen” host Molly Baz confirmed that she had asked Condé Nast to release her from the video obligations of her contract, as she did not want to appear in future Bon Appétit videos out of solidarity with her BIPOC coworkers.
On August 7, 2020, Gaby Melian, another “Test Kitchen” host and Test Kitchen Manager, announced that because “Condé Nast Entertainment is not meeting my expectations regarding the plans to have a more diverse and inclusive video program” she would not be renewing her contract to appear in future videos, but would remain on staff as Test Kitchen Manager.
On August 12, 2020, “Test Kitchen” host Carla Lalli Music announced that she would also not be renewing her contract with Bon Appétit video out of solidarity with her BIPOC coworkers, acknowledging that the existing system at the company “overwhelming favored white talent,” and that as a result “I have been supported and rewarded for my work. My BIPOC co-hosts have not.”
On August 15, 2020, editor and video host Amiel Stanek confirmed on Instagram that earlier in the week, he had asked to be released from his video contract with Condé Nast Entertainment. He added that he felt “let down and disappointed in a lot of ways” but that he “also [felt] a lot of gratitude and hope for the future.”