A group of 20 Teen Vogue staff members sent a letter to management on Monday expressing concern over their recently appointed editor in chief, Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond.
According to a note published on Twitter by Teen Vogue’s staffers, the concerns expressed in the letter center around a number of racist and homophobic tweets McCammond wrote, some of which were posted in 2011. The exact content of the letter has not been shared with CNN Business.
“As more than 20 members of the staff of Teen Vogue, we’ve built our outlet’s reputation as a voice for justice and change — 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 reads. “We’ve heard the concerns of our readers, and we stand with you. 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.”
McCammond publicly apologized for the offending tweets in 2019 when they first came to light, but they resurfaced over the weekend after Teen Vogue’s parent company Condé Nast announced Friday that McCammond would be the magazine’s new editor in chief.
On Sunday, Diana Tsui, editorial director of recommendations at The Infatuation, posted on Instagram a series of text-based photos calling attention to the tweets McCammond sent in 2011, when she was in college.
Tsui called McCammond a “questionable hire” in her Instagram posts and criticized her for using the word “insensitive” instead of “racist” in her 2019 apology. Tsui’s post garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of comments, including from actress Olivia Munn, who has been speaking out against the recent wave of anti-Asian attacks around the country. Tsui’s post was also reshared by Diet Prada, an Instagram account with 2.5 million followers that shares gossip and drama about the fashion industry. That post has amassed nearly 60,000 likes since it was posted Sunday.
In a statement to CNN Business on Monday, Condé Nast Chief Communications Officer Joe Libonati recalled McCammond’s previous apology for the tweets.
“Alexi McCammond was appointed editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue because of the values, inclusivity and depth she has displayed through her journalism,” Libonati wrote in an email. “Throughout her career she has dedicated herself to being a champion for marginalized voices. Two years ago she took responsibility for her social media history and apologized.”
McCammond, who isn’t scheduled to start working until March 24, has apologized to Teen Vogue staffers for her behavior on Monday in a note Libonati shared with CNN Business.
“I’m beyond sorry for what you have experienced over the last twenty-four hours because of me,” McCammond wrote. “You’ve seen some offensive, idiotic tweets from when I was a teenager that perpetuated harfmul and racist stereotypes about Asian Americans. I apologized for them years ago, but I want to be clear today: I apologize deeply to all of you for the pain this has caused. There’s no excuse for language like that.”
She also insisted that those tweets “aren’t who I am” and that she will work to earn back the trust she says she has lost.
“I want you to know I am committed to amplifying AAPI voices across our platforms, and building upon the groundbreaking, inclusive work this title is known for the worldover,” she said, using the acronym for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
McCammond did not respond to CNN Business’ request for comment.
McCammond made news recently for another controversy surrounding her relationship with TJ Ducklo, former deputy press secretary for President Joe Biden. Ducklo resigned from that position last month after he threatened a Politico reporter who planned to write a story about their previously unreported relationship.
The backlash over McCammond’s hiring at Teen Vogue comes amid an already turbulent time at Condé Nast. Adam Rapoport, former editor in chief of Bon Appétit, resigned last year over accusations of bias and a discriminatory culture at the food magazine. He apologized for his “failings.”
Anna Wintour, who was recently promoted to chief content officer for Condé Nast and global editorial director of Vogue, admitted that Vogue made mistakes that were “hurtful or intolerant” to Black creators in a staff memo in June. “I take full responsibility for those mistakes,” she wrote.
Condé Nast has invested more in diversity and inclusion over the past year, including hiring its first-ever global chief diversity and inclusion officer and releasing a diversity report.
For the announcement of McCammond’s hire, Wintour said, “Alexi has the powerful curiosity and confidence that embodies the best of our next generation of leaders.”