Anna Wintour Apologised For The "Hurtful And Intolerant" Choices She's Made As Editor-In-Chief Of Vogue

    "I want to take full responsibility for those mistakes."

    Editor-in-chief of Vogue Anna Wintour has apologised and "taken full responsibility" for failing to increase visibility and opportunity for Black creators during her 32-year tenure.

    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    With the subject of race and white privilege at the forefront of global consciousness following the police killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests, companies across the world are being forced to reckon with their culture and diversity.

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    Some, including Kylie Jenner's company, Kylie Cosmetics, have taken part in the viral Pull Up or Shut Up campaign, which challenges brands to reveal the diversity breakdown of their leadership teams.

    Well, Wintour has now spoken out about Vogue, revealing that the brand has failed "to give space" to Black creators while also publishing "hurtful or intolerant" content.

    Marechal Aurore / ABACA/PA Images

    "I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate or give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators," her letter to staff began. "We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I want to take full responsibility for those mistakes."

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    "It can't be easy to be a Black employee at Vogue, and there are too few of you," she went on. "I know that it is not enough to say that we will do better, but we will — and please know that I value your voices and responses as we move forward."

    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    "I am listening and would like to hear your feedback and your advice if you would like to share either," she added.

    Going on to address the Vogue website, Wintour revealed she'd been "proud" of the recent focus on diverse voices and the Black Lives Matter movement, but added that there was still "much more work to do".

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    "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," she wrote.

    "Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly," she concluded the statement. "I am arranging ways we can discuss these issues together candidly, but in the meantime, I welcome your thoughts or reactions."

    Mark Sagliocco / SIPA USA/PA Images

    Vogue — which launched in 1892 — featured its first Black cover star in 1974. It took until 2018 for a Black photographer to shoot the cover of the magazine.

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    The magazine has also come under fire for cultural appropriation and racism in its photoshoots, including this 2017 spread of Karlie Kloss dressed as a geisha for its "Diversity Issue."

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    The magazine was also criticised for styling Kendall Jenner in what appeared to be an Afro wig in 2018 — a decision they later publicly apologised for.

    Meanwhile, Italian Vogue caused outrage in 2010 after publishing a feature about "slave earrings," while Vogue France was criticised for featuring model Lara Stone in blackface in 2009.

    And in 2017, the editor of Vogue UK, Alexandra Shulman, claimed her "chief remit was not to show ethnic diversity as a policy", because "you would sell fewer copies" in response to criticism that only 12 Black models appeared on the cover during her 25-year editorship.

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    Her comments — as well as a photo of her all-white staff — were later denounced by many, including model Naomi Campbell.

    Wintour's statement comes just weeks after she was publicly criticised by US Vogue's former editor-at-large André Leon Talley, who accused her of inflicting "huge emotional and psychological scars" and freezing him out when he became "too old, too overweight, too uncool".

    Anthony Behar / SIPA USA/PA Images

    You can read Wintour's statement in full here.

    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 want to 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 that 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.

    Ellie Woodward is Celebrity and Entertainment Editor for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Woodward at ellie.woodward@buzzfeed.com.

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