Teen Vogue Editor Resigns Over Racist Tweets: “They included comments on Asian features and derogatory stereotypes about Asians”

From a New York Times story by Katie Robertson headlined “Newly Hired Editor of Teen Vogue Resigns Over Racist Tweets”:

Alexi McCammond, who made her name as a politics reporter at the Washington news site Axios, had planned to start as the editor in chief of Teen Vogue next Wednesday. Now, after Teen Vogue staff members publicly condemned racist and homophobic tweets Ms. McCammond had posted a decade ago, she has resigned from the job.

Condé Nast, Teen Vogue’s publisher, announced the abrupt turn on Thursday in an internal email that was sent amid pressure from the publication’s staff, readers and at least two advertisers, just two weeks after the company had appointed her to the position….

Ms. McCammond, 27, established herself as a prominent political reporter last year. She covered President Biden’s campaign for Axios and was a contributor to MSNBC and NBC. In 2019, she was named the emerging journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists. She would have been the third Black woman to serve as Teen Vogue’s top editor….

Her job status became shaky days after Condé Nast named her to the position, when the offensive tweets she had posted as a teenager in 2011 resurfaced. They included comments on the appearance of Asian features, derogatory stereotypes about Asians and slurs for gay people. Ms. McCammond had apologized for the tweets in 2019 and deleted them. Screenshots of the tweets were recirculated on social media after her hiring at Teen Vogue was announced on March 5.

Within days, more than 20 staff members at Teen Vogue posted a note on social media saying they had made a complaint to company leaders about the tweets, and Ms. McCammond apologized for them again both publicly and in meetings with Condé Nast staff. “I’ve apologized for my past racist and homophobic tweets and will reiterate that there’s no excuse for perpetuating those awful stereotypes in any way,” she wrote in a March 10 letter posted on her Twitter account. “I am so sorry to have used such hurtful and inexcusable language.”…

The scrutiny of her tweets has come at a time of heightened concern about violence and harassment directed against Asian-Americans. On Wednesday, after eight people were killed in shootings in Atlanta, including six women of Asian descent, Condé Nast’s chief executive, Roger Lynch, sent a memo to the company’s staff that said one in 10 of its employees identified as Asian.

“Our teams, our families and our friends have all been affected by the rise in hate crimes toward Asian people and it’s unacceptable,” Mr. Lynch wrote….

Ms. McCammond had been vetted before Condé Nast hired her, and top executives including Mr. Lynch and Anna Wintour, the chief content officer and the global editorial director of Vogue, were aware of the decade-old racist tweets, Mr. Duncan said in his note on Thursday, and Ms. McCammond acknowledged them in interviews with the company.

Ms. Wintour discussed the tweets with leaders of color at Condé Nast before the job was offered, according to a company executive….Ms. McCammond struck Condé Nast leaders as an impressive candidate, the executive said, and they felt her 2019 apology showed that she had learned from her mistakes.

Although the company was aware of the racist tweets, it did not know about the homophobic tweets or a photo, also from 2011, that was recently published by a right-wing website showing her in Native American costume at a Halloween party, the executive said….

Condé Nast has reckoned with complaints of racism in its workplace and content over the past year. In June, amid the Black Lives Matter protests, Ms. Wintour sent a note to the Vogue staff, writing that, under her leadership, the magazine had not given enough space to “Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators” and acknowledging that it had published “images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant.”

Adam Rapoport, the editor in chief of another Condé Nast publication, Bon Appétit, resigned in June after a photo of him resurfaced on social media, drawing condemnations from the staff for an offensive depiction of Puerto Ricans.

In the last two weeks, as complaints mounted, Ms. Wintour tried to build support for the would-be Teen Vogue editor. Ms. McCammond also participated in meetings with Condé Nast staff members and other groups to apologize further and listen to their concerns, including one-on-one talks with journalists at Teen Vogue….

It became clear that Ms. McCammond’s job was in jeopardy on Monday, when Ms. Wintour abruptly canceled a meeting scheduled for Wednesday for top Condé Nast editors, Ms. McCammond and the new editor in chief of Vogue China, Margaret Zhang….The cancellation was accompanied by a note saying the meeting would not be rescheduled.

Katie Robertson is a media reporter. She previously worked as an editor and reporter at Bloomberg and News Corporation Australia.

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