The new project from former New York Times food writer Mark Bittman got off to a rocky start yesterday. In a Times article, Bittman announced Salty, a new food-focused “online magazine” that he created with the publishing platform Medium. One problem: Salty already exists, and it’s a feminist magazine that launched in 2017. On top of that, there was more than a passing resemblance between the logos for the two publications, which multiple people, both inside and outside the food-writing community, amplified on Twitter.
A THREAD PLS RT:— Salty (@Saltyworldbabes) March 19, 2019
1)Salty amplifies the voices of women, trans + non binary people, & centers the perspectives of woc. We launched a year ago, & now have 25,000 nl subscribers, 54K insta followers & hit 1.6 mill monthly impressions. We're not on twitter much because it is unsafe. pic.twitter.com/UlsEbe5OoC
Salty’s official account called out both Bittman and Medium (and Twitter) founder Evan Williams, noting that two rich white guys using the name of a magazine geared towards women, trans, and non-binary people wasn’t the greatest look. Top Chef alum Preeti Mistry also jumped in to excoriate Bittman with the eminently reasonable suggestion that Googling “Salty” is a pretty simple task, and standard practice before launching a new venture. Mistry then proceeded to whip out more burns directed at Bittman.
The Twitter campaign reached its intended audience: Williams replied to a tagged tweet, and Bittman did an about face fairly rapidly, responding to Salty’s tagged tweet last night: “We’re really sorry,” he wrote. “This was a mistake (stupid, but honest), and we’re working on changing our name and logo right now. It might take a day or two, but we’re on it.” So now, Bittman received a valuable lesson about search engines, nobody’s getting trademarks stomped on anymore, and more people might be drawn to check out the original Salty.
• Mark Bittman Is Starting a Food Magazine on Medium [NYT]
• @Saltyworldbabes [Twitter]