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Three Bon Appétit Test Kitchen stars of color are leaving the series. Here’s why

Priya Krishna, Sohla El-Waylly and Rick Martinez say they will no longer appear in videos for Bon Appétit’s Test Kitchen series because of unequal pay for their work

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Priya Krishna appears in one of the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen videos on YouTube. Krishna is one of three stars of color from Bon Appétit who say they will no longer appear in the video series due to unequal pay.

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Three stars of color announced they will no longer appear in videos for Bon Appétit magazine’s Test Kitchen series, claiming that they were unable to negotiate equitable pay for their work, CNN reported.

In separate social media posts on Thursday, Priya Krishna, Sohla El-Waylly and Rick Martinez all stated they would be leaving the video series after contract negotiations were unsuccessful, according to CNN.

“These past few months have been disappointing and insulting,” Krishna wrote, according to USA Today. “I am constantly being told that I am an important part of the test kitchen, yet leadership refuses to acknowledge that in the form of compensation or opportunities.”

Meanwhile, Martinez claimed that the pay rate he was being offered was not commensurate with what his white colleagues were paid, according to the New York Times.

“After five weeks of contract negotiations, 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,” wrote Martinez, according to the Times. “Nor would anyone share with me the specifics of the diversity and inclusivity initiatives in video that they claim to be working on.”

Bon Appétit faced allegations of discrimination and unfair treatment earlier this year, which led to the resignation of the magazine’s top editor, Adam Rapoport, in June, according to the Washington Post. Among other allegations, a photo resurfaced online of Rapoport wearing a Halloween costume that was considered racist.

Krishna explained in more detail how she had originally appeared in the video series without pay, while some of her colleagues were compensated to appear in the videos, according to NBC’s “Today.”

“When I was first asked to do videos in the test kitchen in 2018, the opportunity was presented as great publicity for my upcoming cookbook. I wasn’t paid at first,” Krishna wrote, according to “Today.” “In 2019, I asked to be compensated, and was offered what I was told was the standard rate, which amounted to about $300 per video, for several hours of work.”

However, Krishna said that she “later found out that some of my colleagues were making many, many times this amount for doing video, while others were receiving no additional compensation for video.”

El-Waylly made similar claims earlier this year, according to USA Today.

“I’ve been pushed in front of video as a display of diversity,” El-Waylly wrote in June, according to USA Today. “In reality, only white editors are paid for their video appearances. None of the people of color have been compensated.” 

In a statement, a spokesperson for Condé Nast (Bon Appétit’s parent company) said that the allegation of unequal pay “simply isn’t true,” according to the Times.

“We pay all our employees fairly, and in accordance with their role and experience. Our pay practices are in line with industry standards. To suggest that we are paying individuals differently based on race, gender or any other reason simply isn’t true.”

On the same day that the three Test Kitchen stars announced their departure, Condé Nast announced it had hired Sonia Chopra — previously of Vox Media and Eater — as a new executive editor for Bon Appétit, and that she will report to Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour until a new editor in chief for Bon Appétit is hired, according to USA Today.

Although the three will leave the video series, Krishna and El-Waylly will continue to write for Bon Appétit, according to “Today.”

The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen videos have over 6 million followers on YouTube. However, there have been no new videos posted to the channel since June 5, according to CNN.