Condé Nast has backed Anna Wintour and insisted there is ‘no truth’ to rumors the Vogue editor will resign despite her skipping out on a tense all-staff phone call after she apologized for not doing enough to promote black staffers and designers.
Roger Lynch, CEO of the magazine publishing giant, laughed off mounting calls for the long-running editor in chief to stand down from the helm of the fashion bible during an all-staff call on Friday.
‘There is no truth to that,’ Lynch said with a laugh, when multiple staff questioned Wintour’s future at the company.
Calls have been mounting for Wintour to resign from her 32-year reign at Vogue after current and former staff blasted the lack of diversity in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests nationwide.
Wintour, who is also Condé Nast’s artistic director, penned an apology last week admitting to letting ‘hurtful and intolerant behavior’ go unchecked and to not doing enough to champion black staffers and designers.
Condé Nast has backed Anna Wintour (pictured) and insisted there is ‘no truth’ to rumors the Vogue editor will resign despite her skipping out on a tense all-staff phone call after she apologized for not doing enough to promote black staffers and designers
Lynch was forced to shield several questions about Wintour’s position at the firm during Friday’s call – which the Vogue editor was notably absent from.
He insisted Wintour is key to turning the company around, calling her ‘an incredibly positive force for change,’ according to The Daily Beast.
‘Like I said earlier, many of us can look back at our history and think of things we should’ve done differently. The real question is, are you in a position to contribute and make change now? I think there are very few people in the world who can have the influence to change the culture… than Anna,’ he said.
Lynch also told staff that Wintour would remain part of the company’s diversity committee and that she would possibly make an appearance in an upcoming staff meeting after her absence on this call, reported the Beast.
Wintour penned a a company-wide memo to her staff last Thursday amid nationwide unrest and protests calling for racial equality, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.
‘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,’ Wintour began.
Anna Wintour and Roger Lynch at the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2020 Fashion Show in 2019. Roger Lynch, CEO of the magazine publishing giant, laughed off mounting calls for the long-running editor in chief to resign during an all-staff call on Friday
Vogue’s June/July 2020 issue. Calls have been mounting for Wintour to resign from her 32-year reign at Vogue after current and former staff blasted the lack of diversity in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests nationwide
Anna Wintour’s message to her staff
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
‘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.’
In the letter, Wintour admitted that ‘it can’t be easy to be a Black employee at Vogue, and there are too few of you’ and pledged to ‘do better’.
But her apology triggered a backlash with accusations circling that she has fueled a culture that does not not value diversity.
The latest backlash against the the editor, dubbed ‘Nuclear Wintour’ due to her formidable reputation, comes as André Leon Talley, a former editor-at-large for the publication and former close friend of Wintour, has painted a scathing picture of her in his upcoming memoir.
Talley says he has ‘huge emotional and psychological scars’ from his decades long friendship with Wintour, which he claims came to a tumultuous end when she allegedly severed ties with him because he’d become ‘too old, too overweight and too uncool’.
He also claims there is an ‘endless’ list of writers, stylists and models who she has cast onto a ‘frayed and tattered heap during her powerful rule’.
Condé Nast’s top boss Lynch has been forced to answer to staff over the last week, as protests over the death of black man Floyd have ignited demands to end systemic racism and discrimination in institutions across the nation.
Lynch admitted Friday the company’s systems for handling workplace issues are ‘not adequate’ and that Condé will scrutinize its internal company makeup by ‘accelerating our first ever diversity and inclusion report to be published later this summer.’
Lynch also defended his decision not to fire Oren Katzeff, the head of Condé Nast Entertainment, after it emerged he made offensive jokes about Mexicans and women.
‘Every single one of us on this call has said something that you’re ashamed of,’ he said.
‘The real question is: Have you learned from them? Have you taken ownership from it? And clearly: How serious was it?’
It’s been a turbulent week for Condé Nast as accusations have surfaced of misconduct at the highest levels and discrimination toward black staff at a number of the publisher’s brands.
André Leon Talley, a former editor-at-large for the publication and former close friend of Wintour, has painted a scathing picture of the famously icy doyenne, insisting in his upcoming memoir that she is ‘not capable of human kindness’
Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport resigned from his position after a photo surfaced of him and his wife Simone Shubuck dressed as derogatory Puerto Rican stereotypes (above)
Wintour and Katzeff aside, a number of other top executives have stood down from their roles at the publishing firm in disgrace over their actions and comments.
Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport resigned from his position after a photo surfaced of him and his wife Simone Shubuck dressed as derogatory Puerto Rican stereotypes.
The photo prompted widespread calls for the longstanding editor to stand down and led several former and current staffers to break their silence over alleged lack of opportunities and unequal pay for people of color working at Bon Appétit.
The disgraced editor’s personal assistant then broke her silence saying how he allegedly treated her – the only black woman on the staff – like ‘the help’ and told her he took his coffee ‘like Rihanna’.
Bon Appétit assistant editor Alex Delany was also forced to apologize this week when an image of a Confederate-flag cake surfaced from his Tumblr account.
Matt Duckor, who heads video programming for Condé Nast, also resigned after old tweets surfaced were he made offensive comments about gay people and people of color.
How ‘Nuclear Wintour’ rules with an iron fist
‘DEVIL WEARS PRADA’ BAN
The 2006 movie The Devil Wears Prada is widely seen as a satire of Wintour, but she apparently did not approve. Reports at the time claimed Wintour had threatened to blacklist designers who took up cameos in the film – although she denied this.
STAFF FEAR HER WRATH
One of Wintour’s former assistants recalled that ‘you definitely did not ride the elevator with her, and you definitely couldn’t say anything to her’. A biographer said she would ‘drag staff back from lunch’ to redo their work and rule with an iron fist at ‘horribly tense editorial meetings’.
One anecdote says that Wintour would not be denied when a photographer failed to give her a piece of film – assigning a junior reporter to go through trash bags and recover it.
MET GALA MICRO-MANAGEMENT
Vogue organizes the glitzy annual Met Gala in New York City but the high-society bash is subject to Wintour’s strict rules – including a ban on taking selfies, a ban on serving onions to prevent bad breath, and tight control over the seating plan.
EDITOR ‘FROZEN OUT’
Former Vogue editor André Leon Talley claims in a new memoir that he was dropped from Wintour’s circle because he ‘suddenly became too old, overweight, and uncool’ for her. He nonetheless says the book is ‘in many ways a love letter’ to her.
Fashion writer Plum Sykes once told a BBC documentary that the clothes that Vogue staffers would wear at work ‘are clothes that most people would wear on their most glamorous night out of the year’, saying that if she went into Wintour’s office ‘I would need to wear high heels and look groomed’.
In 2004, Wintour was ordered to pay $140,000 to a New York state compensation board after allegedly failing to provide insurance coverage to an employee, according to reports at the time.
Wintour was quoted in Alastair Campbell’s 2015 book Winners And How They Succeed as saying that ‘everyone should be sacked at least once in their career because perfection doesn’t exist’.