Anna Wintour has admitted that Vogue has been “hurtful and intolerant” — and not done enough to promote black staff and designers.
In an emotional note to staff, Wintour wrote: “I want to start by acknowledging your feelings and expressing my empathy towards what so many of you are going through: sadness, hurt, and anger too.
“I want to say this especially to the Black members of our team — I can only imagine what these days have been like. But I also know that the hurt, and violence, and injustice we’re seeing and talking about have been around for a long time. Recognizing it and doing something about it is overdue.”
The note, seen by Page Six, was sent out last Thursday. On Monday, Adam Rapoport, editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit, resigned Monday after a photo of him in brownface surfaced — compounding a race-based controversy over pay equity in Condé Nast’s video division.
The Vogue doyenne and Condé’s artistic director wrote: “I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators. We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes.
“It can’t be easy to be a Black employee at Vogue, and there are too few of you. I know that it is not enough to say we will do better, but we will — and please know that I value your voices and responses as we move forward. I am listening and would like to hear your feedback and your advice if you would like to share either.
“I am proud of the content we have published on our site over these past few days but I also know that there is much more work to do. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly. I am arranging ways we can discuss these issues together candidly, but in the meantime, I welcome your thoughts or reactions.”
Wintour has come under fire from Vogue’s former Editor at Large André Leon Talley in his new memoir, “The Chiffon Trenches,” where he accused her of dumping him for being “too old” and “too fat.”
He also said she failed to thank him for writing an op-ed for the Washington Post praising her September 2018 cover featuring Beyoncé as culturally significant for the black community.
“Not one quick email from Anna Wintour,” he wrote. “Editors I’ve worked with for decades didn’t understand the immense importance of this occasion simply because they are not capable of understanding. None of my contemporaries have seen the world through black eyes.”
But Wintour said she is listening now, as she wrote: “This is a historic and heartbreaking moment for our country and it should be a time of listening, reflection, and humility for those of us in positions of privilege and authority. It should also be a time of action and commitments. On a corporate level, work is being done to support organizations in a real way. These actions will be announced as soon as possible.”