Update #2: August 6, 2020
For the past month, the Man Repeller team has continued to implement changes to create a more equitable, inclusive workplace and improve our storytelling. We want to thank readers, contributors, and partners for their feedback and the motivation to do better—your input has been essential. As promised, we’d like to share some updates on our progress.
- We’re proud to be founding members of the Black in Fashion Council, an organization that aims to set new standards for equity in fashion and media—and hold companies accountable to those standards. You can read more about the council here.
- We’ve chosen a diversity, equity, and inclusion firm to work with and will begin that process in the coming weeks. The program will focus on auditing Man Repeller’s past operations and practices, building a strategic DEI plan for the coming years, and then helping to implement it. We’re optimistic that having independent experts consult on crucial structural changes will ensure that these improvements are thorough and long-lasting.
- After taking part in the Pull Up for Change initiative, Man Repeller maintains its pledge to further diversify our team at all levels as soon as possible. We will have more info about new roles this month.
- Following the reinstatement of freelance budgets beginning in July, both the editorial and art teams have dedicated 75% of freelance budgets to collaborating with BIPOC contributors. (If you have a story idea, we’d still love to hear from you—please send writing pitches to [email protected] and art-related pitches to [email protected].)
- Man Repeller has committed to the 15 Percent Pledge, which means including at least 15% Black-owned brands within our shopping content across all MR channels. This began in July and we’re excited to continually expand the roster of people we work with and discover new brands to highlight.
- Man Repeller is donating a portion of all brand partnerships to charitable organizations supporting social justice causes and individual projects by BIPOC creatives. Since May 2020, the company has donated $13,000 across The National Domestic Violence Hotline, Sad Girls Club, and Soul Fire Farm.
Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to the changes that we’ve made so far—it’s been a rewarding and challenging experience and we’re inspired to keep going.
Update #1: June 11, 2020
We, the 14-person staff of Man Repeller, want to directly address our community, collaborators, and industry peers in light of Leandra’s decision to step away from the organization’s day-to-day operations. This is the first in a series of ongoing updates that aim to offer transparency about how the company operates and how it’s changing.
We recognize that there are far more important things happening in the world outside of this company right now—the significance of a media brand pales in comparison to the mission of protecting Black lives and voices from police brutality. But we also recognize that systemic racism permeates every facet of our lives, and that what happens at Man Repeller can be an object lesson in where we as a culture and an industry are headed, the new standards we’re setting, and the old ones we will no longer tolerate.
Our company must rise to meet this moment.
First, employees at Man Repeller who have benefitted from privilege—be it because of race, class, size, or any other form—would like to acknowledge that we let former colleagues and readers down by silently partaking in a culture we never personally aligned with. We are deeply sorry for the harm this caused. We know these words are empty without tangible, permanent action to back them up, so we are now providing transparency around our mission to rebuild Man Repeller.
Here’s what’s happening now:
- Last week, we began the recruitment process for a diversity & inclusion expert to guide us in implementing lasting change from top to bottom. We don’t view D&I experts as an ultimate solution—but we believe this is an important place to start. It’s imperative to create an environment that is supportive for all people before we attempt to hire new full-time staff members. We won’t accept superficial diversity and non-intersectional feminism.
- Once the new foundation of our company has been built, increasing diversity on our full-time staff will be our top priority. Beyond that, we are instituting a permanent requirement that at least 50% of applicants who make it beyond the phone interview stage for open roles are from backgrounds that are underrepresented on our staff.
- Effective immediately, we have reinstated freelance budgets (which were frozen due to the financial impact of COVID-19), so that we can connect with a more diverse range of contributors as soon as possible. We have established standards across these budgets to ensure that money is being spent as intended. (If you’re interested in contributing, please send writing pitches to [email protected] and art-related pitches to [email protected].
- At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Man Repeller committed to donate 10% of all brand partnerships to mutually agreed-upon charity organizations. For the rest of 2020, these charities will be related to supporting social justice. We will research and evaluate our charities on a quarterly basis. If you represent an org that would like to be considered, please email [email protected].
- We will be revisiting previously published content to improve crediting and visibility for BIPOC contributors.
- Man Repeller is participating in the #PullUpForChange initiative and will disclose an audit of the demographic makeup of our current staff and set clear goals for where we would like to be six months from now.
- The company will now provide team members with an education stipend for continued learning and personal growth and will be regularly dedicating time to community service.
- We will convene monthly for the express purpose of tracking our progress related to the initiatives outlined above.
We hope this statement will be understood for what it is: a transparent beginning and a tool to hold the company and ourselves accountable. There is much more work for us to do.
We are incredibly grateful for the feedback we’ve received but we do not want to place an unfair burden on community members and BIPOC employees. The MR team will do this long-overdue work as a collective, on a level playing field–and we are dedicated to seeing it through. We are not of the mind that systemic racism (or any other form of exclusivity) is someone else’s problem to solve.
We want to earn back your trust by showing you that we are all capable of radical change.