No stranger to scandal: Newly hired Teen Vogue editor-in-chief under fire for past tweets

Alexi McCammond is only 27 years old yet here she is in another headline-catching personal scandal. The name may sound familiar – she is the former Axios political reporter who was in a relationship with a Biden aide. That relationship was exposed when the aide threatened another reporter who was looking into the affair.

White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo threatened a Politico reporter for investigating Ducklo and McCammond’s relationship. He told the reporter he would “destroy” her and then made crude accusations toward her. Naturally, the Politico reporter got that story out, and then Jen Psaki was asked about it during a White House press briefing. The Biden administration was hoping to sweep a story of a staffer in the press office having an affair with a reporter under the rug. No such luck. Ducklo was first suspended and then he resigned. McCammond left Axios.

McCammond was hired by Conde Nast to be the new editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. Teen Vogue was originally a magazine for young women that featured fashion and celebrities. Due to declining sales, the magazine is now an online-only publication and mixes in a heavy dose of liberal politics and current events.

McCammond, who was tapped as a 2019 “Emerging Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists, had been at Axios since 2017, where she covered both the Biden White House and the Trump White House.

She replaces Lindsay Wagner Peoples, who ran the teen mag since November 2017 before being tapped in January to run New York Magazine’s fashion vertical, The Cut.

Instead of instructing minors on how to go about getting an abortion, the staff of Teen Vogue is busy canceling their new boss. When McCammond was 17, she did what a lot of young people do – she posted some tweets that now, ten years later, look racist and offensive. Conde Nast announced her hiring on Friday. McCammond, a black woman, apparently mocked Asian people in her younger days. About 20 staffers wrote a letter to parent company Conde Nast about McCammond’s past tweets.

In their public statement, the Teen Vogue staffers noted that they had “built our outlet’s reputation as a voice for justice and change” and said: “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,” the statement read.

“We’ve heard the concerns of our readers, and we stand with you,” it continued. “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 2019 when the past tweets first popped up to haunt her, McCammond apologized and deleted the tweets. She said she deleted the tweets because “they do not reflect my views or who I am today.” Which is exactly the point, isn’t it? A 17-year-old girl has some growing up left to do before she becomes a 27-year-old adult woman. Most teenagers shouldn’t even be on social media platforms because they will more times than not post something somewhere along the line that will end up biting them on the butt later, just as these have done.

Over the weekend, a series of since-deleted tweets that McCammond posted in 2011, when she was a teenager, resurfaced on social media.

“Now googling how to not wake up with swollen, asian eyes…,” one of the tweets read.

“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,” another said.

Conde Nast is standing by McCammond, at least for now. The parent company points out that she apologized for her past behavior.

“Alexi McCammond was appointed editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue because of the values inclusivity, and depth she has displayed throughout her journalism,” the company said in a statement.

“Throughout her career, she has dedicated herself to being a champion for marginalized voices.”

It appears as though Ms. McCammond is still in the learning process when it comes to personal behavior. She had to have known that her personal affair with a staffer in the White House press office was an ethical violation (as he had to have known) in her job as a reporter. Yet, she failed up, so to speak. She found employment at an online publication and scored the top job. The way the Conde Nast statement reads, you would think McCammond was a seasoned pro. She’s only 27 years old now. How long of a timeframe can “throughout her career” cover, anyway? Let’s hope that after two big personal scandals in just a matter of a couple of months, she’s re-charting her course.

An Instagram post by Diana Tsui went viral Monday. She is an editor at the website The Infatuation. She claims Asian-Americans have suffered enough over the last year due to the backlash from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m tired of big media organizations pretending to give a damn about diversity and inclusion.”

“This especially is a slap in the face given what’s happened to Asian Americans in the past year,” Tsui added, referring to the recent uptick in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans.

Should a 27-year-old young professional be held responsible for tweets that are 10 years old? No, not really. We have to assume that she no longer holds those thoughts. Conde Nast has an opportunity to lead by example. Too many companies are eager to get rid of employees when embarrassing situations come up. Now is a good time to show that people mature and change and deserve a chance to prove that.