Glamour Editor to Address Ex-Staffer’s Racial Remark
Junior-Level Editor's Summer Comment Sparks Debate
An off-color comment about African American hairstyles made by a Glamour associate editor a few months ago is proving to be a headache that won’t go away for editor-in-chief Cindi Leive. So much so that Leive is planning to address the touchy subject during a roundtable discussion to be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine.
“These are deep, really personal issues for a lot of women, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that this discussion has had legs,” Leive wrote in an e-mail to Folio:. “Ironically, they’re the sorts of issues we cover all the time in Glamour, so that’s what we’ve decided to do here: hold a forum to get well-known women—and our own readers—talking about issues of beauty, identity and race, and then run the results in the magazine.”
Early this summer, the junior-level editor accepted an invitation to speak to a group of women about corporate fashion at New York City law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
During the presentation the editor said that “political” hairstyles such as Afros and dreadlocks are a “Glamour don’t.” Several of the African American women in the audience took offense. Since then, the story—which was first reported in the August issue of American Lawyer—has been circulated in the form of a chain e-mail, a Glamour spokesperson says. The incident even led to a segment that aired on NPR.
Editor-in-chief Leive has also received a number of letters from upset readers. “To be clear: Glamour did not, does not, and would never endorse the comments made; we are a magazine that believes in the beauty of all women,” wrote Leive in a note posted recently on the Glamour Web site. Leive says that neither she nor her staff became aware of the incident until two months after it happened. “This incident was treated very seriously by Glamour management, and the staffer has since resigned. We’ve extended a full apology to the law firm she addressed, and I extend the same apology to all of you.”
A Glamour spokesperson declined to give the name of the associate editor, but it appears the ex-staffer is Ashley Baker. Baker told Gawker media blog Jezebel that she wanted to make a public apology in August, but that Glamour‘s parent company, Conde Nast, refused to let her.