Controversy Over French Elle’s “Black Style” Article Drags On

By:'s The Cut / February 2, 2012

After running a wholly inappropriate article on “black style” last month, editors at French Elle removed the piece without comment. They later blandly acknowledged the backlash it received with the excuse that the story was misunderstood. Speaking over the weekend, Elle’s managing editor Valerie Toranian said it was “full of good intentions” that were just expressed badly, which only ignited a new round of outrage over the story, and how the magazine handled the subsequent backlash. 

A group of 35 famous French citizens sent an open letter to Le Monde dissecting the offending article’s many flaws. The letter’s authors — journalists, TV and film critics, and model Noémie Lenoir among them — also urged Elle’s editorial staffers to “[venture] out of their office windows in the business district of Levallois-Perret to mingle with the population — allowing them to see what black people [actually] look like, and how they dress in real life.” Read more…