Anna Wintour Admits 'Vogue' Has Failed Black Staffers: 'I Take Full Responsibility for Those Mistakes'

The 'Vogue' editor in chief promised the publication will do better when it comes to elevating "Black editors, writers, photographers, and designers."

Anna Wintour

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Anna Wintour

Worldwide outrage over the death of George Floyd has drastically fueled outrage over the systemic racism plaguing America. In the weeks since Floyd's police killing, demonstrators have hit the streets demanding structural change and justice across all areas of society—not just within law enforcement.

Over the past couple of weeks, there's been a number lawmakers, TV personalities, and CEOs forced to step down over race-related controversies. The publishing industry has also seen several shocking shake-ups in recent days, most notably the resignations of the New York Times' Opinion Editor James Bennet, Refinery29 editor in chief Christene Barberich, and Bon Appetit editor in chief Adam Rapoport, who announced his departure after an old photo of him in brownface resurfaced.

Days before these resignations, Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour issued a company memo addressing the ways in which the magazine had failed its black staffers. Wintour, who has served as the Vogue EIC since 1988, took full responsibility for the mistakes made during her tenure, including publishing content that was "hurtful or intolerant."

"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," she wrote in the memo obtained by Page Six. "We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes."

She then promised her team that leadership will do better going forward.

"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," she said. "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 was scrutinized earlier this year following the publication of André Leon Talley's memoir, The Chiffon Trenches. Talley, the former editor-at-large of Vogue, shared a number of troubling anecdotes that portrayed Wintour as intolerant and insensitive.

"My hope is that she will find a way to apologize before I die, or if I linger on incapacitated before I pass, she will show up at my bedside, with an extended hand clasped into mine and say: ‘I love you. You have no idea how much you have meant to me,'" he wrote.

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