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Anna Wintour 'sorry' for using racist word at Vogue

Nick Allen
·2-min read
Anna Wintour has been editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988 - GETTY IMAGES
Anna Wintour has been editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988 - GETTY IMAGES

Anna Wintour has apologised for using a racially offensive word as 11 former employees told The New York Times she should no longer be in charge of Vogue.

The newspaper reported on a series of incidents under her leadership including controversies over cultural appropriation.

But Ms Wintour was defended by Naomi Campbell and other women of colour who said they had been promoted to top roles by her.

"The most important thing any of us can do in our work is to provide opportunities for those who may not have had access to them," Ms Wintour told the newspaper.

"Undoubtedly, I have made mistakes along the way, and if any mistakes were made at Vogue under my watch, they are mine to own and remedy."

Naomi Campbell defended Ms Wintour, saying the Vogue editor had been important to her career - FILMMAGIC
Naomi Campbell defended Ms Wintour, saying the Vogue editor had been important to her career - FILMMAGIC

It was reported that, in 2017, Ms Wintour was discussing by email a series of photographs of black models in head scarves.

She asked a black assistant if they could be construed as racist. According to The New York Times, she wrote: "Don't mean to use an inappropriate word, but pica ninny came to mind." The assistant said the photographs were fine.

In a statement, Ms Wintour told the newspaper: "I was trying both to express my concern for how our readers could have interpreted a photo and raise the issue for discussion, and I used a term that was offensive. And for that, I truly apologise."

One black former Vogue employee told The New York Times: "Fashion is bitchy. It's hard. This is the way it's supposed to be. But at Vogue, when we'd evaluate a shoot or a look, we'd say 'That's Vogue' or 'That's not Vogue', and what that really meant was 'thin, rich and white'. How do you work in that environment?"

Campbell said: "The first cover try I ever did [September issue in 1989], I had no idea she had to fight for me. She's been a very important factor in my life and has been honest about what she can and cannot do."