André Leon Talley Says Anna Wintour's Vogue Apology "Came Out of the Space of White Privilege"

André Leon Talley shared his reaction to Anna Wintour's message to Vogue staff. Listen to his response.
By Jess Cohen Jun 11, 2020 6:44 PMTags
Related: Anna Wintour Apologizes for "Intolerant" Mistakes at "Vogue"

André Leon Talley is speaking out about Anna Wintour's message to her staff at Vogue.

In the memo obtained by E! News, the editor-in-chief acknowledged that the publication "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 take full responsibility for those mistakes," Wintour continued, adding that there are "too few" Black employees at Vogue. "It can't be easy to be a Black employee at Vogue."

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

Shortly after Wintour's comments appeared online, Talley—who previously worked alongside Wintour as Vogue's editor-at-large and detailed their working relationship in his book, The Chiffon Trenches—spoke out about the apology in a conversation with Sandra Bernhard.

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"I don't know if you're aware of it Ms. Bernhard, recently she who is the dame of American Vogue made a statement," Talley said on SiriusXM's Sandyland on Thursday, adding that Wintour's statement went public just as it was announced that Harper's Bazaar had appointed Samira Nasr as its first Black editor-in-chief.

"That is news, groundbreaking," Talley said to Bernhard. "This has impacted [Wintour], clearly that statement comes because this girl is going to run competition rings around her, her power base has been somewhat affected by the competition of this young African American presence who is going to be historically the first black female editor of a great, great magazine."

Talley noted that both Harper's Bazaar and Vogue are "two great magazines."

Talley then returned to Wintour's message, saying, "The statement that she made, you know, the world of white privilege is complicated."

"The statement came out of the space of white privilege," Talley continued. "I wanna say one thing, Dame Anna Wintour is a colonial broad, she's a colonial dame. She comes from British, she's part of an environment of colonialism."

Eugene Gologursky for Getty Images

"I do not think she will ever let anything get in the way of her white privilege," Talley continued. "That announcement was like the man who made the announcement for the NFL."

Talley's quote is a reference to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who recently admitted that the league was wrong for "not listening" to concerns from athletes regarding racial inequality.

"He did not name Colin Kaepernick, he did not name Colin Kaepernick," Talley said of Goodell's statement. "If you're going to make a statement, name what your mistakes were, own up to it, dear. No apologies necessary, all we want is respect."