Teen Vogue editor steps down after anti-Asian posts resurfaced: ‘Past tweets overshadowed work’

Former Axios reporter apologised for the resurfaced tweets earlier this month

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 18 March 2021 18:05
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Teen Vogue editor resigns amid uproar over offensive tweets from college days
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Alexi McCammond, the newly hired Teen Vogue editor-in-chief, has resigned following backlash over her decade-old racist tweets that recently resurfaced.

McCammond, 27, who was set to begin her new job on 24 March, announced the decision in a statement shared to Twitter, where she said her “past tweets have overshadowed the work I’ve done”.

“My past tweets have overshadowed the work I’ve done to highlight the people and issues that I care about – issues that Teen Vogue has worked tirelessly to share with the world – and so Condé Nast and I have decided to part ways,” McCammond wrote.

In the statement, McCammond said she takes “full responsibility” for the tweets and acknowledged that she should “not have tweeted what I did”.

“I wish the talented team at Teen Vogue the absolute best moving forward,” McCammond continued. “Their work has never been more important and I will be rooting for them.

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“There are so many stories left to be told, especially those about marginalised communities and the issues affecting them. I hope to have the opportunity to re-join the ranks of tireless journalists who are shining light on the issues that matter every single day.”

McCammond’s statement comes after The New York Times reported that Condé Nast, Teen Vogue’s publisher, announced the decision in an internal email on Thursday.

Backlash over McCammond’s hiring began shortly after it was announced by the outlet on 5 March that the Axios reporter had been hired as the new editor, when tweets that she had sent in 2011 began to resurface.

McCammond had previously addressed the tweets, which she deleted, in 2019, stating at the time: “I am deeply sorry to anyone I offended. I have since deleted those tweets as they do not reflect my views or who I am today.”

Despite the apology, criticism of the journalist’s appointment mounted, with Teen Vogue staff members publicly issuing a statement condemning McCammond’s past tweets on 8 March.

In the statement, which came from more than 20 Teen Vogue staff members, it said that a letter had been written to management at Condé Nast about McCammond’s hiring “in light of her past racist and homophobic tweets”.

Teen Vogue staff also noted they had heard the concerns of readers and “we stand with you,” with the statement continuing: “In a moment of historically high anti-Asian violence and amid the on-going struggles of the LGBT community, we as the staff of Teen Vogue fully reject those sentiments.”

Advertisers also expressed disappointment with the hiring, with Ulta Beauty announcing shortly after the hiring that it had decided to pull its advertisements from Teen Vogue because of concerns about diversity and inclusion.

“Diversity and inclusion have always been core values at Ulta Beauty,” a spokeswoman for the company said at the time. 

“We stand against racism in all forms and as we’ve publicly shared in our social channels, we stand in unity with the AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community,” the statement added. “We believe it’s important that our partners share our values.”

On 10 March, McCammond again apologised for the “offensive, idiotic” tweets in a lengthy statement shared to Twitter, in which she said there was “no excuse for perpetuating those awful stereotypes in any way”.

In the statement, McCammond, who made headlines earlier this year when her partner, former Biden aide TJ Ducklo, threatened a reporter writing a story about their relationship, also said that it had been “one of the hardest weeks of my life” and that she was dedicated to “always bettering myself”.

“I hope you share my desire for healing and I know all of you deserve better, happier, safer days ahead,” she added.

At the time, Condé Nast issued a statement defending the decision to hire McCammond.

“Alexi McCammond was appointed editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue because of the values inclusivity, and depth she has displayed throughout her journalism,” the company said in a statement to the New York Post. “Throughout her career she has dedicated herself to being a champion for marginalised voices.”

McCammond’s past tweets were reportedly discussed by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Condé Nast’s chief executive, Roger Lynch, before she was hired, according to The Times, which states thatMs Wintour discussed the tweets with leaders of colour at Condé Nast before the job offer was made”.

Others, such as Elaine Welteroth, the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, said that McCammond’s tweets, and the sentiments behind them, were “indefensible”.

“Her tweets and the sentiments behind them were racist and abhorrent and indefensible, period,” Welteroth told CBS. “And I think at a time like this, when there is a call for accountability around anti-Asian sentiment and just racist, violent actions against Asian people, we do need to speak up.

“And I think we also need to elevate the voices of the Asian community, especially within this industry, the fashion media.”

The decision for McCammond and Condé Nast to part ways came a day after the publishing giant released a statement following the fatal Atlanta massage parlor shootings which left eight people, including six Asian women, dead.

“Like many of you, I’m horrified by yesterday’s violent events in Atlanta targeting people of Asian descent,” Lynch said in the statement, titled: “Taking action against hate”. “This is a devastating moment in history for all of us. Our teams, our families and our friends have all been affected by the rise in hate crimes toward Asian people and it’s unacceptable.”

The statement then went on to state that one in 10 employees at Condé Nast in the US identify as Asian, and that “as a company, we stand in solidarity with Asian communities around the globe”.

The Independent has contacted Condé Nast for comment.

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