The newly-appointed editor of Teen Vogue has apologised for “racist and homophobic” tweets she wrote in 2011. Staff at the magazine signed a letter in protest at the hiring of Alexi McCammond, now 27, over the comments.
The letter said it rejected her sentiments at this “moment of historically high anti-Asian violence”. “I’m sorry to have used such hurtful and inexcusable language,” McCammond tweeted on Wednesday. “I’ve apologised for my past racist and homophobic tweets and will reiterate that there’s no excuse for perpetuating those awful stereotypes in any way,” she added.
A series of attacks on Asian-Americans have been reported in recent weeks, with many people saying they fear further violence. McCammond also made headlines last month when her partner, TJ Ducklo, resigned from the White House communications team after threatening a journalist. “I will destroy you” Ducklo said to a reporter when she tried to investigate the couple’s relationship before it was public. McCammond apologised for her tweets in 2019, calling them “deeply insensitive”. But after her appointment at Teen Vogue last week, the posts resurfaced, leading to a backlash. They were published on Instagram on Monday by journalist Diane Tsui.
“Outdone by [an] Asian #whatsnew,” read one of McCammond’s earlier tweets. “Give me a 2/10 on my chem [chemistry] problem, cross out all of my work and don’t explain what I did wrong… thanks a lot stupid Asian T.A [teaching assistant] you’re great,” read another. Referencing the comments, Tsui wrote: “Time and time again this shows that gatekeepers pay lip service to diversity. They don’t believe anti-racism policies can and should include Asian Americans.” Teen Vogue, which has a large following among teenagers and readers in their 20s, has built a reputation for explicit anti-racist and feminist journalism. In one of its most famous pieces, it said in 2016 that US President Donald Trump was “gaslighting America” Staff at the magazine said that McCammond’s appointment threatened the outlet’s core values.
“We’ve built our outlet’s reputation as a voice for justice and change — we take immense pride in our work and in creating an inclusive environment,” more than 20 staff wrote in a letter posted on Instagram on Tuesday. “That’s why we have written a letter to management at Condé Nast about the recent hire of Alexi McCammond as our new editor-in-chief in light of her past racist and homophobic tweets,” they wrote. In her apology, McCammond said the incident made her introduction to Teen Vogue “awful” but that she had dedicated her career to “giving a voice to the voiceless”. “The last thing I’d ever want is to make anyone – but especially our Asian brothers and sisters in particular – feel more invisible,” she added. She promised “better days ahead” for the magazine.