27-year-old former Axios reporter Alexi McCammond will no longer be editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. Her decision comes after anti-Asian tweets from 2011 resurfaced, and both staff and readers (including Olivia Munn and Daniel Dae Kim) called for her resignation. McCammond published a statement on social media, explaining her decision. She wrote:
I became a journalist to help lift up the stories and voices of our most vulnerable communities. As a young woman of color, that’s part of the reason I was so excited to lead the Teen Vogue team in its next chapter. My past tweets have overshadowed the work I’ve done to highlight the people and issued that I care about–issues that Teen Vogue has worked tirelessly to share with the world–and so Condé Nast and I have decided to part ways.
I should not have tweeted what I did and I have taken full responsibility for that. I look at my work and growth in the years since, and have redoubled my commitment to growing in the years to come as both a person and as a professional. I wish the talented team at Teen Vogue the absolute best moving forward. Their work has never been more important, and I will be rooting for them. There are so many stories left to be told, especially those about marginalized communities and the issues affecting them. I hope to have the opportunity to re-join the ranks of tireless journalists who are shining light on the issues that matter every single day.
McCammond was named Teen Vogue’s new editor-in-chief on March 5, and was set to officially start the position on March 24. Stan Duncan, the chief people officer at Condé Nast, issued a statement to The New York Times on Thursday, saying, “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.” McCammond’s decision to leaves comes at the height of violent anti-Asian acts, including a mass shooting targeting Asian women that killed eight people in Atlanta and an elderly Asian woman who was attacked on the street in San Francisco.
The reporter’s problematic tweets first surfaced in 2019, after the reporter called out Charles Barkley for an off-color joke about wanting to slap her. Upon her reaction to Barkley, his fans unearthed her racist tweets, which include “Now Googling how to not wake up with swollen Asian eyes” and “Give me a 2/10 on my chem problem, cross out all of my work and don’t explain what I did wrong...thanks a lot stupid Asian T.A. you’re great.” The reporter released an apology and it was all seemingly swept under the rug until McCammond was hired at Teen Vogue.
Diana Tsui, who is the editorial director of recommendations at The Infatuation, made an Instagram post on March 7, sharing screenshots of McCammond’s tweets, which quickly went viral.
As the New York Times reported, Ulta Beauty and Burt’s Bees suspended their campaigns with Teen Vogue amid the controversy. The Times also shared that top executives including Anna Wintour and Roger Lynch were aware of McCammond’s racist tweets before hiring her, and felt that her apology in 2019 was enough to absolve her from her mistakes.