'Teen Vogue' EIC Deserves Chance At Redemption After Racist Tweets

Teen Vogue staffers this week posted a statement widely shared on Twitter that decried Condé Nast for naming Alexi McCammond the magazine's new editor in chief. They referred to the anti-Asian "racist and homophobic tweets" that she sent in 2011 as cause for concern, especially amid the recent rise in violence against Asian Americans.

Considering that McCammond posted the tweets when she was a teenager, previously apologized for the remarks and has advocated for inclusiveness as a grownup, she deserves a chance to redeem herself in her new role.

The controversy started when Diana Tsui, an editorial director at The Infatuation and former editor at New York magazine’s The Cut, posted McCammond's tweets on photo-sharing app Instagram. Tsui questioned whether McCammond, who is Black, is the best representation of Teen Vogue’s values of “inclusiveness and empowerment.”
The post showed McCammond’s old tweets, which included offensive remarks such as “googling how to not wake up with swollen, Asian eyes” and another deriding a college teaching assistant as a “stupid Asian.”
“Time and time again, this shows that gatekeepers pay lip service to diversity,” Tsui wrote. “They don’t believe that anti-racism policies can and should include Asian Americans.”
Following Tsui's post, Teen Vogue staffers issued a statement about Condé Nast's decision to hire McCammond in light of her past tweets.
“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,” the statement said. “In a moment of historically high anti-Asian violence and amid the on-going struggles of the LGBTQ community, we as the staff of Teen Vogue fully reject those sentiments.”
McCammond, this week sent an email to the Teen Vogue staff apologizing for the remarks, saying: “There’s no excuse for language like that.”
The criticism of Condé Nast management follows a year of internal turmoil over alleged racism and discrimination. The former editor of food magazine Bon Appétit resigned and several members of its "Test Kitchen" video series quit amid the controversy. Anna Wintour, currently Condé Nast’s Chief Content Officer, also apologized for publishing exclusionary articles in Vogue and excluding Black voices.
Last month, McCammond drew attention after her relationship with TJ Ducklo, a senior Biden administration spokesperson, became public. McCammond had covered Biden's campaign for Axios, but was reassigned to cover Vice President Kamala Harris after disclosing her relationship with Ducklo to editors last November. Ducklo later quit, after it was reported he had threatened a Politico reporter who had inquired about his relationship with McCammond.
Amid the controversy, a Condé Nast spokesman said in a statement to the Daily Beast that the publisher hired McCammond because of her “values, inclusivity and depth she has displayed through her journalism.”
McCammond has drawn support from her former boss at Axios, CEO Jim VandeHei, who said in a tweet that she showed her “true character” as an advocate for “ALL individuals & groups,” and she “apologized long ago” and is more mature.
McCammond's remarks as a teen were racist and regrettable, but shouldn't be held against her forever. Teens say outrageous things all the time, often mimicking what they see and hear in the media while testing the limits of acceptability. Unfortunately, social media gives them a platform to broadcast those remarks in an indelible public record that comes back to haunt them. Her continued work at Teen Vogue can be an opportunity to promote dialog about the harms of racism.



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