Just three days after Condé Nast announced its decision to hire political reporter Alexi McCammond to replace Lindsay Peoples Wagner as Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief, a public backlash is unfolding. On Monday, a group of 20 Teen Vogue staff members issued a public statement via social media platforms condemning McCammond’s “past racist and homophobic tweets.”
“We take immense pride in our work and in creating an inclusive environment,” reads the statement. “That’s why we have written a letter to management at Condé Nast about the recent hire of Alexi McCammond.” The statement also notes similar concerns raised by Teen Vogue‘s readership, saying “we stand with you.”
The tweets in question, which date from 2011, include racist, Anti-Asian statements like “now googling how to not wake up with swollen, asian eyes” and “Outdone by an Asian #whatsnew”. “In a moment of historically high anti-Asian violence and amid the ongoing struggles of the LGBTQ community, we as the staff of Teen Vogue fully reject those sentiments,” reads the statement.
Per The Daily Beast, “in addition to the public statement… Teen Vogue staff privately expressed concerns on Monday to Condé Nast’s global chief content officer Anna Wintour and CEO Roger Lynch about the hiring process and the decision to tap McCammond for the job.”
Discussion about McCammond’s history of racism grew over the weekend, with Diana Tsui, an editor at The Infatuation, sharing screen grabs of McCammond’s since-deleted Anti-Asian tweets from the past. “I’m tired of big media organizations pretending to give a damn about diversity and inclusion,” Tsui wrote in her Instagram caption, adding “This especially is a slap in the face given what’s happened to Asian Americans in the past year.”
Tsui’s post was re-shared by Diet Prada, Very Good Light and many others in the media industry.
In 2019, when it appears McCammond was first called out for her racist statements, she issued an apology on Twitter: “Today I was reminded of some past insensitive tweets, and 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,” she wrote on Nov. 20, 2019.
While Condé Nast did not immediately respond to Fashionista’s request for comment, the company appears to be sticking by McCammond, issuing the following statement to The New York Post: “Alexi McCammond was appointed editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue because of the values inclusivity, and depth she has displayed throughout her journalism.” In an addition to that statement, a company spokesperson elaborated further in a comment to The Daily Beast: “Throughout her career she has dedicated herself to being a champion for marginalized voices. Two years ago she took responsibility for her social media history and apologized.”
McCammond herself has responded to the controversy by sending a staff-wide email, which was obtained by The Daily Beast, on Monday:
“I’m beyond sorry for what you have experienced over the last 24 hours because of me. You’ve seen some offensive, idiotic tweets from when I was a teenager that perpetuated harmful and racist stereotypes about Asian Americans. I apologized for them years ago, but I want to be clear today: I apologize deeply to all of you for the pain this has caused. There’s no excuse for language like that. I am determined to use the lessons I’ve learned as a journalist to advocate for a more diverse and equitable world. Those tweets aren’t who I am, but I understand that I have lost some of your trust, and will work doubly hard to earn it back. I want you to know I am committed to amplifying AAPI voices across our platforms, and building upon the groundbreaking, inclusive work this title is known for the world over.
I’m heartbroken by the nasty vitriol some of you have experienced in the wake of this situation. It is completely unacceptable. But as we navigate through this together, what matters to me is crushing the work we do. My number one mission in leading you through this next chapter is to make you all feel more confident, comfortable, and fearless in your storytelling and the boundaries we can push together as a team. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for this opportunity and for sticking with me.”
Fashionista has contacted Condé Nast and will update this post with any additional comment.