Less than a week before she was to begin her role as editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Alexi McCammond today (March 18, 2021) announced she and Teen Vogue parent company agree to cut ties.
McCammond took to Twitter where she wrote, “Hey there: I’ve decided to part ways with Condé Nast. Here is my statement about why…”
In her statement, the former Axios political reporter addressed the firestorm over her resurfaced tweets in which she made derogatory comments on Asian features and also made negative comments about gay people.
She wrote, “My tweets have overshadowed the work I’ve done to highlight the people and the issues I care about–issues that Teen Vogue has work tirelessly to share with the world–and so Condé Nast and I have decided to part ways.”
At the same time, Condé Nast‘s chief people officer, Stan Duncan, announced the news to staff with an internal note. Obtained by the NY Times, the note read, “After speaking with Alexi this morning, we agreed that it was best to part ways, so as to not overshadow the important work happening at Teen Vogue.”
Now 27, McCammond was 17 and a college student at the University of Chicago when she wrote the tweets in 2011.
McCammond was filling a role at Teen Vogue vacated by Lindsay Peoples Wagner, who left the magazine to rejoin The Cut as editor in chief.
When McCammond was announced as editor in chief on March 5th, the push back began almost immediately. McCammond had already apologized two years prior for the tweets, which she described as “insensitive,” but they were resurfaced following the news of her hire by writer Diana Tsui on Instagram.
Referencing the hire alongside an uptick in crime against Asian Americans, Tsui wrote “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.”
Twenty Teen Vogue staff members followed with a letter expressing disappointment with her appointment. Even as social chatter began to recede, national retailer Ulta Beauty announced it was pulling what’s been quote as a seven-figure advertising budget in protest of her hire. Burt’s Bees also put its advertising plans with the publication on hold.
While much of the debate has centered around whether McCammond should be forgiven for her 10-year-old tweets, it should be noted that Condé Nast and the company’s chief content officer Anna Wintour, who oversaw the hiring process, deserves as much blame for choosing to select her despite a history completely at odds with Teen Vogue‘s reputation for championing social justice causes.
Wintour’s poor decision-making includes pushing past advice from the publication’s well-regarded former editor-in-chief, Peoples Wagner. According to reported by The Daily Beast, she provided a list of recommended replacements and specifically said she was opposed to choosing McCammond as her successor.
Peoples Wagner hasn’t commented on the controversy, however her predecessor, Elaine Welteroth, who led the publication from 2016-2018, has weighed in. In her role as a co-host on The Talk, Welteroth said, [McCammond’s] tweets and the sentiments behind them were racist, abhorrent and indefensible. Period.”
Welteroth went on to quote Bag Snob editor Tina Craig, who also criticized Conde Nasté and Teen Vogue‘s handling of her prior tweets.
Check out Weleroth’s comments below.
Teen Vogue staffers call out new editor-in-chief Alexi McCammond over past anti-Asian tweets. pic.twitter.com/hl0hIfTGGe— The Talk (@TheTalkCBS) March 9, 2021