Alexi McCammond, the former prominent political reporter for Washington news site Axios, was set to formally start her new role as editor-in-chief at Teen Vogue on March 24. However, a week before she was due to start the job, it was announced that she will be resigning, following her controversial decade-old racist and homophobic tweets.
After Condé Nast, Teen Vogue’s publisher, named her to the new position on March 5, screenshots of old tweets she had posted as a teenager in 2011 resurfaced on social media. The tweets included racist stereotypes of Asians, derogatory comments on Asian appearances and homophobic slurs. The post gained the attention of readers, journalists, influencers and even actress Olivia Munn spoke out.
A few days later, more than 20 staff members at Teen Vogue raised their concerns about McCammond’s hiring, posting on social media that they had written to company leaders to condemn her tweets and reaffirm that they do not align with the sentiments of the tweets.
In response to the backlash, McCammond sent an email to staff members, apologizing and saying that she was “committed to amplifying AAPI voices across our platforms, and building upon the groundbreaking, inclusive work this title is known for the world over.” McCammond spoke out publicly again on March 10, sharing that she spoke with the Asian American Journalists Association and apologized both publicly and internally with Condé Nast staff. “I am so sorry to have used such hurtful and inexcusable language.” she wrote on March 10.
I’ve dedicated my career to giving a voice to the voiceless, and the last thing I’d ever want is to make anyone—but especially our Asian brothers and sisters in particular—feel more invisible.Says Alexi McCammond
McCammond has addressed and apologized for these tweets in 2019 when they originally surfaced. Upon her hiring, Condé Nast leaders, including Anna Wintour, the chief content officer and the global editorial director of Vogue, were made aware of her racist tweets and apology.
As more backlash brewed while executives continued to support her, advertisers began to pull out. Ulta Beauty and Burt’s Bees—two major advertisers with Teen Vogue—agreed to suspend their campaigns with the publication in efforts to show that they do not align with Asian American and Pacific Islander hate.
On March 18, Teen Vogue and McCammond both released a statement saying that they will be parting ways.
McCammond’s tweets recirculated in a time of increased violence, racism and harassment against Asian-Americans. Her problem, after all, is not that her tweets would overshadow the work that she has done since, but that her work would not change what she did. This situation sparked conversations about accountability vs. cancel culture, forgiveness, who is in positions of power and what diversity and inclusion for Teen Vogue really looks like.
As of now, Teen Vogue has renewed its search for its new editor-in-chief.