Old Controversy Reemerges for New Teen Vogue Editor

Alexi McCammond is once again apologizing for racist, homophobic tweets posted in 2011
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2021 8:34 AM CST
Teen Vogue Editor Sees Renewed Backlash on Racist Tweets
Alexi McCammond, in a screenshot from an MSNBC appearance in 2018.   (YouTube/MSNBC)

Teen Vogue has a new top editor, but just days into the job, Alexi McCammond finds herself at the center of controversy. CNN Business reports that 20 or so members of the magazine have sent a letter to management about McCammond, a former Axios reporter whose face had become a familiar one on the media circuit. The staffers' beef: a series of racist and homophobic tweets McCammond posted in 2011, when she was 17 or 18 and in college. Among those posts were ones in which she made remarks about Asian Americans, including one in which she noted, "Now Googling how to not wake up with swollen, Asian eyes," as well as one in which she called a teaching assistant a "stupid Asian," per the Washington Post. McCammond, who's Black, apologized for those tweets in 2019, but now that they've resurfaced, she's being made to once again contend with the fallout. More from around the internet:

  • Staff statement: Although the letter to management itself hasn't yet been publicized, the staff put out a statement online, noting, "We've built our outlet's reputation as a voice for justice and change. ... We've heard the concerns of our readers, and we stand with you."

  • Backlash on the original apology: It's not only McCammond's tweets that have some upset, but also how she initially said she was sorry for them. Diana Tsui, an editorial director at the Infatuation restaurant recommendation site, said in a Monday Instagram post that McCammond's 2019 apology referenced her "deeply insensitive" tweets. "They are not insensitive, they are racist," Tsui noted, also blasting Teen Vogue: "Time and time again this shows that gatekeepers pay lip service to diversity."
  • McCammond's new mea culpa: In a Monday email to Teen Vogue staff, McCammond referenced her previous apology, but said she wants to reiterate her regret now as well: "There's no excuse for language like that. ... 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." Yahoo has her memo in full.
  • Conde Nast's take: A company rep's statement to CNN notes McCammond "was appointed editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue because of the values, inclusivity, and depth she has displayed through her journalism" and that "throughout her career she has dedicated herself to being a champion for marginalized voices." The rep also cites her previous apology.
  • An earlier dust-up: The New York Times notes that earlier this year, McCammond was at the center of a political/media flap for her relationship with TJ Ducklo, then the press secretary for Joe Biden's campaign. Ducklo resigned after it came out he'd threatened a female Politico reporter who was co-authoring a story on his relationship with McCammond.
  • Charles Barkley connection: McCammond is also tied to a 2019 incident in which, during a political discussion about the Democratic primary with the former NBA star, he said to her, "I don't hit women, but if I did I would hit you." Barkley later apologized, per USA Today.
  • Conde Nast commotions: The parent company for Teen Vogue has had other recent high-profile hubbubs. CNN notes Bon Appetit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport resigned last year after photos emerged of him and his wife in Halloween costumes that depicted offensive Puerto Rican stereotypes. Meanwhile, Anna Wintour, now global editorial director of Vogue, admitted in June to "hurtful and intolerant" behavior at the magazine, especially toward Black staffers.
(More Teen Vogue stories.)

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