In the midst of a flurry of news stories exposing businesses for fostering racist hiring practices and work environments, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour waved the white flag (literally) with a letter delivered to Condé Nast’ staff last week (June 4, 2020).
In the letter obtained by Page Six Wintour admits to the intolerant and hurtful culture present at Vogue. “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,” she wrote. “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.”
Wintour also acknowledged Vogue‘s poor efforts in creating an inclusive platform. She added, “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’s letter follows days of turnover in the media and entertainment industry with multiple individuals fired over complaints from current and former employees in connection with racist behavior.
Within the women’s publishing space Refinery29 founder and editor-in-chief Christene Barberich stepped down after multiple employees surfaced described a toxic work environment for black women and women of color.
Commenting on racism in the fashion industry, model Anok Yai penned an essay on challenges she’s faced as a black model and also pointed out a recent post by CR Fashion Book editor Carine Roitfeld who erased Yai’s identity when stated in an Instagram post, “
Meanwhile, at Bravo, longtime “Vanderpump Rules” castmates Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute were fired for filing a false police report on Faith Stowers, the show’s only black cast mate in its seven-year history.