Newly appointed Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Alexi McCammond is facing backlash from readers and staff members for past tweets that have come to light since news of her new position was announced late last week.
The 27-year-old McCammond—who rose to notoriety while covering the 2018 midterm election and then Joe Biden’s presidential campaign for Axios—is being criticized, in part, for a series of tweets from 2011 that made headlines in 2019 when Charles Barkley fans were upset she called out the NBA star for an inappropriate joke about wanting to hit her. In response to the backlash at the time, the NBC/MSNBC contributor released the following statement: “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.”
But what is deleted is not forgotten. Journalist Diana Tsui shared McCammond’s 2011 tweets in a viral Instagram post on Sunday. “I’m tired of big media organizations pretending to give a damn about diversity and inclusion. And this especially is a slap in the face given what’s happened to Asian Americans in the past year,” Tsui captioned her post, referencing the rise in racists targeting Asian people since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tsui’s post was followed up on Monday with a statement posted by multiple current Teen Vogue staffers: “As more than 20 members of the staff of Teen Vogue, 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. 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,” reads the statement. “We’ve heard the concerns of our readers, and we stand with you. 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. We are hopeful that an internal conversation will prove fruitful in maintaining the integrity granted to us by our audience.”
In a statement provided to The Daily Beast on Monday, a Condé Nast spokesperson said, “Alexi McCammond was appointed editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue because of the values, inclusivity and depth she has displayed through her journalism. 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.”
Those sentiments are reportedly echoed in a statement McCammond sent to the Teen Vogue staff that has been obtained by The Daily Beast:
“I’m beyond sorry for what you have experienced over the last twenty-four 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.”
This is not the first time McCammond—who is intended to expand the political commentary and news footprint of the fashion, beauty, and culture brand, which stopped publishing print editions in 2017—has been in the news because of her private life. In early February, McCammond went public about her relationship with Biden’s deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo. In an interview with People, the couple explained how McCammond avoided a conflict of interest by asking her Axios editor to move her off covering the Biden administration. The piece also highlighted how McCammond has supported Ducklo since he was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer in December 2019. The piece was met with support from fans, but weeks later Ducklo was forced to resign as Biden’s deputy press secretary after it came to light that he’d made threats and derogatory comments to a Politico reporter who reported on McCammond and Ducklo’s relationship.
McCammond’s Twitter account is currently set to private.