Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Tuesday morning

Bon Appétit editor Adam Rapoport resigns after offensive photo; Metro PR cuts ties with Stassi Schroeder.

More editors resign. Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport announced in an Instagram post Monday night that he is stepping down after a photo of him in brownface resurfaced. "From an extremely ill-conceived Halloween costume 16 years ago to my blind spots as an editor, I've not championed an inclusive vision," Rapoport wrote. The photo prompted staffers to call out systemic racism at the publication and call for his resignation. Meanwhile, Refinery29 editor and cofounder Christene Barberich also announced that she would step down on Monday after several employees said they had been discriminated against at the company. 

Metro Public Relations has cut ties with reality TV personality Stassi Schroeder. The decision came after it was revealed that the Vanderpump Rules star called the police on her former co-star and black cast member Faith Stowers for a crime Stowers had nothing to do with. Metro PR, which worked with Schroeder since 2018, told Variety, “She became a client when her publicist joined our company in July 2018. We made the decision this weekend to part ways with [Schroeder].” United Talent Agency also dropped the star, and Schroeder’s actions led to her losing deals with shaving brand Billie, vitamin brand Ritual and Secret Deodorant.

IBM wants nothing to do with facial recognition technology. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said in a letter to Congress Monday that the company will no longer develop, research or offer general purpose facial recognition or analysis software. “IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any [facial recognition] technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency,” Krishna wrote in the letter. “We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.”

Amazon has sued a former marketing VP for taking a job at Google Cloud. The lawsuit against Brian Hall, former Amazon Web Services VP of product marketing, alleges that his new role at Google Cloud violates the terms of his non-compete agreement with the Seattle company and risks exposing valuable competitive information to one of its biggest rivals. Hall’s lawyers said Amazon executives repeatedly led him to believe the company would not enforce the non-competition provision of its confidentiality agreement.

In today’s Agency Business Report spotlight: SourceCode Communications. Former Hotwire execs Greg Mondshein and Rebecca Honeyman struck out on their own in fall 2017 to form SourceCode with an eye on tech clients that had high growth potential. The firm nearly doubled its number of retained clients from 14 in 2018 to 27 last year, and almost tripled staffers from eight to 22. Check out SourceCode’s profile here and go here for the full Agency Business Report 2020

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