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‘We made mistakes,’ says Anna Wintour on racial discrimination at Vogue

Ever since the 'Black lives matters' protests is on, a lot of brands have been called out and made to look bad at their racist practises.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Published: June 12, 2020 2:10:40 pm
anna wintour The editor-in-chief of US Vogue, sent out an e-mail to her fellow employees, apologising for her racist behaviour. (Source: theannawintour/Instagram)

The United States of America is facing one of its biggest civil rights movements after Geoge Floyd’s tragic death at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. The narrative is questioning casual racism ever since the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests began, several brands too have been called out in this regard.

According to reports in The Guardian, Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of US Vogue, sent out an e-mail to her fellow employees, apologising for any inadvertent instances of racism. “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 read.

Following this letter, a Twitter trend started trending were employees of Vogue mentioned incidents of racist discrimination.

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With an impressive media résumé, Shelby Ivey Christie was recruited as a media planner at Vogue in 2016. She tweeted that her time at the glossy was “the most challenging and miserable” of her career, adding that bullying from white colleagues was exhausting. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “A white male exec on the digital biz team dressed up in a chicken suit, with gold chains, sagging pants + rapped to our entire biz org as a meeting ‘kickoff’”, said one tweet. HR was alerted, but nothing was done. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Christie writes of Black employees being overqualified, underpaid, and overworked. She was assigned additional territories spanning the West Coast to Italy, would could stretch work days to 20 hours. Nepotism was also an issue. On Vogue’s social media team, two Black members were Ivy League grads while their white counterparts had “no prior relevant experience”. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Zara Rahim was hired as Vogue's communications director in 2017. A former spokesperson for Hillary Clinton, she also worked for President Obama before winding up Vogue. As the only WOC in a leadership role, she was given additional diversity responsibilities that equated an additional job. “I was told in the end I was ‘complaining too much’”. At her next job, her salary jumped $60k. “There are people who hold these keys and have held them for decades. They know what they are doing, fire them.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Journalist Noor Tagouri was never employed by Vogue, but her experience is telling of the racism that pervades legacy institutions. She was photographed for a feature in their Feb. 2019 issue, only to be misidentified in print as Pakistani actress Noor Bukhari. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In attempts to remedy the situation, she was offered a written feature, but wasn’t allowed to address the misidentification. Tagouri countered with a separate feature on the topic, but was told that Vogue wouldn’t publish two diversity pieces in one year. An offer to lead a free Diversity & Inclusion event was also shut down because “it would make it look like Vogue has ‘a problem’”. Eventually, they settled on a Town Hall, but ghosted Tagouri after a schedule mix up. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If the problem wasn’t obvious to the public then, it is now lol.

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According to media reports, Refinery29 editor Christene Barberich also stepped down after staff accounts surfaced on accusations of racism. Later that week, US Bazaar appointed new editor-in-chief Samira Nasr, the first black editor-in-chief in the magazine’s 153-year-old history.

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