The recently appointed editor of Teen Vogue has said she will no longer join the magazine after a backlash over “racist and homophobic” tweets she wrote in 2011. Alexi McCammond said she had decided to part ways with Condé Nast, the magazine’s publisher.
The publisher had come under pressure from staff who opposed her hiring, they wrote a scathing letter in which they rejected the sentiments expressed in Ms McCammond’s past tweets. In a statement on Twitter, Ms McCammond said her “past tweets have overshadowed the work I’ve done to highlight the people and issues that I care about”. “I should not have tweeted what I did and I have taken full responsibility for that,” she added. Condé Nast said it had “agreed that it was best to part ways” with Ms McCammond in an internal email obtained by the New York Times. Ms McCammond was due to start as the editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue on 24 March, having been appointed to the role a few weeks earlier.
A former political reporter for Axios, Ms McCammond would have been the third black woman to serve as Teen Vogue’s top editor. Ms McCammond apologised for her tweets in 2019, calling them “deeply insensitive”. But after her appointment at Teen Vogue, the posts resurfaced, leading to criticism. They were published on Instagram by journalist Diane Tsui. “Outdone by [an] Asian #whatsnew,” read one of Ms 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.”
The tweets came under scrutiny at a time of heightened concern over a sharp uptick in crimes against Asian-Americans. On Wednesday, six Asian-American women were killed in shootings in Atlanta, Georgia. Police have not yet confirmed if the shootings were racially motivated. 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 Ms McCammond’s appointment had 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. “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.”