Two executives criticized Ms. Jones’s plan, according to three people who were at the meeting and were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In particular, Susan Plagemann, the chief business officer of Condé Nast’s style division, challenged Ms. Jones at length, saying the plan would be difficult to sell to advertisers. To defuse the tension, Ms. Wintour banged her fist on the table, saying, “We need to move on,” according to the three people who were at the meeting.
Ms. Plagemann, who is white, joined the company in 2010 as Vogue’s chief business officer and worked closely with Ms. Wintour; in 2018, she was elevated to her current job. Three people with knowledge of the matter said she was vocal about her negative view of Vanity Fair under its new editor.
She had criticized Ms. Jones’s choices of cover subjects, telling others at the company that the magazine should feature “more people who look like us,” two of the people said. A third person said he had heard her use words expressing a similar sentiment. All the people said they interpreted the phrase and similar remarks as referring to well-off white women who adopt an aesthetic common among the fashion set.
Through a Condé Nast spokesman, Ms. Plagemann denied making those statements and denied expressing a dim view of Ms. Jones’s Vanity Fair.
In the interview on Friday, Mr. Lynch addressed Ms. Jones’s stewardship of the magazine more broadly. “The challenge with her taking that new direction would be alienating some of the traditional Vanity Fair audience,” he said. “I really applaud what she’s done.”
The uprising at Condé Nast was overdue, some staff members said. “We’ve been asking for change for months now,” Sohla El-Waylly, an assistant editor at Bon Appétit, said in an interview.
In the Tuesday meeting with Bon Appétit staff members, Mr. Lynch said he hoped to prove a commitment to diversity with the choice of Mr. Rapoport’s replacement. Later in the call, he suggested that some staff members wanted to hurt Bon Appétit financially to bring about change, a comment that irked some in the meeting.