Leandra Medine Cohen has broken her silence. It’s been eight weeks since the fashion influencer announced that she would be leaving her post at Man Repeller, the fashion blog she started a decade ago, following diversity criticisms and discrimination allegations. On Tuesday, Cohen announced her return.
“I’m slowly returning to the brand in an updated, less operational role that will impact the overall structure of my involvement in the company,” she wrote in a blog post. “I know this sounds very vague, but it will make more sense soon. After years of thinking it’s been my role to teach, I’m eager to spend more time learning from the team, who is showing me what Man Repeller can be.”
In June, Cohen found herself in hot water after penning a lengthy blog post as a response to anti-racism protests and the Black Lives Matter Movement where she committed to featuring underrepresented voices on the site and standing against racism. Backlash ensued from the public and multiple former employees, with many citing lack of diversity at the company.
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Cohen said after speaking to former employees and learning about some of her shortcomings as a leader, she decided to step down. “During a subsequent all-hands meeting with the current team at Man Repeller, it became even more clear that I did not fully grasp this responsibility, and ultimately, I made the decision to step back from my operational role,” her Aug. 11 blog post added.
Now that she is back, Cohen said she is grateful for the critical feedback she received. “The conversations have brought up lots of feelings of shame but have also reminded me of the value of connection — the foundational principle on which I started Man Repeller in the first place,” she wrote Tuesday.
Cohen admittedly doesn’t know what’s next, but she said the journey will include writing and living in the public eye again through both Instagram and Man Repeller.
“It would have been foolish to go away forever, even more to not use this opportunity (privilege, really) to critically examine what I put in the world and how it impacts those who engage with it,” she added.