Condé Nast has hired an editor-in-chief for Bon Appétit following backlash the food magazine experienced over diversity issues.
Dawn Davis, who has served as vice president and publisher for Simon and Schuster’s 37 Ink, will take over the role starting November 2, the media company announced Thursday.
Davis will be responsible for the editorial vision of Bon Appétit as well as brands Epicurious, Healthyish and Basically, the company said.
During an interview with USA TODAY, Davis said she wants to establish a magazine where food is fun, but also provides a service to readers. She also said one of her priorities is ensuring a “collegial environment” for staff.
“I want to create an environment where they feel safe, where they feel heard, and where they feel they’re treated equitably,” said Davis.
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In a statement, Condé Nast praised Davis for her leadership in supporting underrepresented voices in media.
“A proven trailblazer in publishing and known for her innovative approach, Dawn’s ability to find emerging voices and give them the platforms to transform our society is unparalleled,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Condé Nast, in a statement.
Davis will replace Adam Rapoport, who resigned after criticism over an Instagram post from 2013 where he was shown using “brown face” as part of a costume.
The ensuing backlash turned to the publication’s popular Test Kitchen video series, with accusations surfacing that white editors were paid for appearances but not people of color.
Earlier this month, three stars from Test Kitchen announced they would no longer appear in videos for the Bon Appétit channel.
“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,” said contributor Priya Krishna in a post on Twitter.
In August, Condé Nast tapped Sonia Chopra, who worked at Vox Media overseeing strategy and operations at Eater, as its executive editor.
Davis will report to Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and artistic director of Condé Nast US.
Davis has worked in book publishing for more than 25 years. Among the titles published under her tenure at 37 Ink: “Heads of the Colored People” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, which won a 2019 Whiting Award; and “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” by Issa Rae.
Davis said she sees food as “central to everything we do,” and seeks to tell stories on issues including how food helps to form community and how it relates to equity in society.
“I’ve been thinking about these issues for a very long time and I hope we produce stories that elevate the discussion around food as culture,” said Davis.
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