Condé Nast assistant quit after CEO gave her ‘Elements of Style’

  • A former Condé Nast assistant, Cassie Jones, quit her job after the company’s global CEO Roger Lynch gave her a copy of “Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, a guide to English writing.
  • Jones saw the gift as an insulting microaggression, according to The New York Times.
  • Condé Nast has been under fire for its toxic work environment over the last week.
  • The company has also launched an investigation into Matt Duckor, the head of lifestyle and style programming for Condé Nast, after racist and homophobic tweets of his resurfaced.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An executive assistant at Condé Nast resigned from her position less than six months after she was hired because of an insulting gift from the company’s global CEO, Roger Lynch, according to a new report from The New York Times.

Lynch was brought on as Condé Nast’s CEO in the spring of 2019. Cassie Jones, a Black woman, worked for Lynch for four months during his tenure.

In November, Lynch brought Jones into his office and gave her “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, a guide to standard English typically used for writing. Lynch said Jones could “benefit” from reading it, according to The Times.

roger lynch

Lynch thought Jones could “benefit” from the gift.

DISH


Jones found the gift insulting and thought of it as a microaggression according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to The New York Times, as it indicated her language skills needed improvement. 

She quit just a few days after Lynch gave her the book, leaving it on his desk before she left the office.

Jones did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but according to her LinkedIn profile, she worked as an executive assistant to Lynch for about five months, seemingly her shortest tenure as an assistant. Her profile also lists English language as one of her accomplishments. 

Jones’ story is one of many to come out of Condé Nast over the last week. The media monolith is under fire after allegations surfaced of a toxic work environment that singled out nonwhite people at Bon Appétit. The brand’s lucrative videos were helping the struggling company. 

Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport resigned on Monday after a photo of him in brownface resurfaced, but employees from the brand told Business Insider’s Rachel Premack that Rapoport’s picture was just the tip of the iceberg. According to the staff, few Bon Appétit staffers of color are compensated for their time in the brand’s videos and Rapoport refused to make the videos more diverse. 

bon appetit adam rapoport

Adam Rapoport resigned as Bon Appétit’s editor-in-chief.

Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider


Likewise, Rapoport repeatedly denied a raise to his former assistant Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, the only Black woman on staff at the magazine, despite the fact that she only made $35,300. “He treats me like the help,” Walker-Hartshorn told Premack in an interview.

The company has also launched an investigation into Matt Duckor, the head of lifestyle and style programming for Condé Nast, after racist and homophobic tweets of his resurfaced. According to Business Insider’s investigation, Duckor also failed to put nonwhite people in Bon Appétit’s videos alongside Rapoport.

A petition calling for Duckors’ resignation currently has over 5,000 signatures.

A Condé Nast representative told Business Insider that the company “is dedicated to creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace” in a statement. A representative also said that Condé Nast is “listening and are taking seriously the concerns raised by our Bon Appétit team members,” and it plans to publish its Diversity and Inclusion report by the end of the summer.

Condé Nast did not immediately reply to Business Insider’s request for comment on this story. 

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