Controversy around the new Teen Vogue editor in chief Alexi McCammond continues after she apologized for tweeting anti-Asian remarks in 2011.
McCammond apologised for the tweets in 2019 and again this week, calling them “offensive, idiotic” posts. On Thursday she posted a new statement to Twitter in which she said: “I’ve dedicated my career to giving a voice to the voiceless, and the last thing I’d ever want is to make anyone – especially our Asian brothers and sisters in particular – feel more invisible,” she wrote. “And I know that that is a unique source of pain in all of this, too: That historically the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community has been left out or ignored in critical conversations around race, racism, justice and equality. I am determined to play a part in changing that.”
After Teen Vogue staffers put out a statement earlier this week to say they were in conversations with publisher Condé Nast about her recent appointment to the role, the magazine’s former editor in chief Elaine Welteroth appeared on CBS’s The Talk on Wednesday and condemned McCammond’s past actions.
“Everybody knows I was a former editor in chief of Teen Vogue,” she said, “so I have to put that out there. That aside, it doesn’t matter – her tweets and the sentiments behind them were racist and abhorrent and indefensible, period. And I think at a time like this when there is a call for accountability around anti-Asian sentiment and just racist, violent actions against Asian people, we need to speak up.”
The tweets resurfaced at a time when hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise, in part due to racist attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year 2,500 incidents were reported.
Additionally the controversy appears to be causing problems with Teen Vogue’s advertisers. The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday that Ulta Beauty had “paused” an estimated seven-figure advertising campaign with the magazine because of McCammond’s tweets.
“Diversity and inclusion are core values at Ulta Beauty – and always have been,” a spokesperson told the publication. “Our current spend with Teen Vogue is paused as we work with Condé Nast to evaluate the situation and determine next steps regarding our partnership.”
In the past Ulta Beauty have been accused of racial profiling in their stores (in response the company said these “accounts are disappointing and contrary to our training and policies. We stand for equality, inclusivity and acceptance and strive to create a space that is welcoming to all”.)
The Daily Beast also reported that there continued to be “top level” concern within Condé Nast’s advertising team over the fallout from the tweets.
McCammond was previously a reporter for the political website Axios. She found herself in the national spotlight last month, when her relationship with TJ Ducklo was at the centre of a scandal over his behaviour towards a reporter, which led him to resign as a communications aide to Joe Biden.
Last Friday in a statement to announce her hiring, Anna Wintour, global editorial director of the Condé Nast said: “Alexi has the powerful curiosity and confidence that embodies the best of our next generation of leaders … I’m so very pleased that she will be bringing her expertise and talents to our team.” McCammond will begin her role on 24 March.
The Guardian has reached out to Condé Nast for additional comment.