Teen Vogue employees are outraged after Alexi McCammond was named the new editor-in-chief for the magazine despite anti-Asian tweets she posted in 2011. When the tweets were first discovered and made public in 2019, McCammond apologized for her remarks but has recently been criticized in a letter that a group of 20 Teen Vogue staff members sent to publisher Condé Nast outlining their resistance to the hiring of McCammond as the new editor-in-chief.
Diana Tsui, editorial director for The Infatuation, shared the tweets on her Instagram earlier this month saying how she was “tired of big media organizations pretending to give a damn about diversity and inclusion.” She added that it felt like a “slap in the face” given the harsh treatment that Asian Americans have had to endure during the past year.
Some of the tweets from McCammond said things like, “Now googling how to not wake up with swollen, Asian eyes,” “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” and other offensive and discriminatory remarks. The tweets were posted ten years ago while McCammond was a student.
McCammond responded to the letter from Teen Vogue staff members in a statement she posted on her Twitter account saying, “I am so sorry to have used such hurtful and inexcusable language. At any point in my life, it’s totally unacceptable…I’ve dedicated my career to giving a voice to the voiceless, and the last thing I’d ever want is to make anyone — but especially our Asian brothers and sisters in particular — feel more invisible.”
McCammond’s tweets have resurfaced during a time when Asian Americans have become an increasingly common target of hate crimes. The increasing presence of racist attitudes and remarks towards Asian Americans has been fueled in large part by the rhetoric used by former president Donald Trump when talking about COVID-19 which he referred to as the “Chinese Virus” and the “Kung Flu.” These offensive and racist remarks, which he often used during campaign rallies leading up to the 2020 presidential election, cast a negative light on Asian Americans and caused them to endure unnecessary harassment.
The Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center was created in response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Their most recent national report, which tracked incidents from March 19 of last year until Feb. 28 of this year, found that verbal harassment and shunning were the two most reported incidents accounting for 68% and 20% of the total incidents respectively. Online harassment made up roughly 7% of the total incidents.
The recent information uncovered about McCammond’s past shows the long history of hate incidents, especially online hate speech, against Asian Americans within the United States and shows that people need to be held accountable for their actions to ensure this treatment ends.
According to The Guardian, McCammond is due to start her new position on March 24, but it is still unclear at this time whether Teen Vogue has decided to continue to support her employment and future leadership role within the company.