Next Wednesday March 24th was a big day for Alexi McCammond. At just 27 years old, the American journalist had caught the attention of industry greats thanks to her work on the Washington-based news portal Axios. So much so that a couple of weeks ago he received a call from the powerful publisher Condé Nast, from which products such as Vogue, Glamor, GQ or Architectural Digest, to become the director of one of his magazines, specifically of Teen vogue, the fresh and youthful version of the most famous fashion magazine in the world. She was to be the third black woman in office. However, less than a week before taking office, McCammond has resigned over a racist controversy that occurred 10 years ago.
It has been the staff of Teen vogue, as stated the newspaper The New York Times, who has publicly condemned a series of homophobic and racist tweets, especially against the Asian community, that its future director published a decade ago on her personal account. Those tweets have provoked the outrage of more than 20 employees of the magazine, who have expressed their disagreement about it. McCammond had already retracted on this matter in 2019, when he deleted them – apparently without much success – and on March 11 publicly apologized again explaining that “there was no excuse to perpetuate those stereotypes.”
The head of the editorial was aware of those racist tweets (although not of the homophobes, who had not come to light again, nor of the one that showed her in a Native American costume), but they thought they were mistakes of youth that had been settled. Anna Wintour had tried to support the appointment of the journalist and to go ahead with it despite the possible consequences, including McCammond in meetings with the editors of the publication of which she wanted to be editor. However, the final decision has taken place when the complaints of the staff have been added those of the advertisers. When the decision has touched the group’s accounts, they have had no choice but to drop Alexi McCammond. At least two major advertisers, cosmetic firms Ulta Beauty and Burt’s Bees, have immediately withdrawn million-dollar advertising campaigns and threatened to stop working with Condé Nast. In a statement that the newspaper collects The Daily MailUlta has affirmed that “diversity and inclusion are fundamental values” of his company, that he is “against racism in all its forms” and that for them “it is important” that their partners share those values.
On Thursday, those responsible for the publishing company met with the magazine’s staff, according to the outlet. The Daily Beast, to explain the departure of what was to be their boss, and then they sent an internal email, also asking that they not spread the news. McCammond herself shared a letter with them, as leaked by that same medium. “My tweets from the past have overshadowed all the work I have done to enlighten the people and issues that matter to me,” said the young woman. “You have seen that some stupid and offensive tweets that I shared as a teenager perpetuated racist and harmful stereotypes against the Asian community. I apologized years ago but I want to be clear: I am deeply sorry for the damage it has caused you ”. He also wished “absolutely all the best” to the magazine team.
Among the tweets that the 17-year-old reporter wrote – who has worked for networks such as NBC or MSNBC, who covered Joe Biden’s campaign as president for Axios last year and who was named emerging journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists—, there was one that said, “Googling how not to wake up with those puffy Asian eyes” or “Outperformed by Asians.” He also retweeted an outlet explaining that a well-known US baseball league umpire had come out as gay at 50, saying: “Why should this be considered ‘newsworthy’? It is not”.
On Thursday afternoon, Alexi McCammond herself decided to write a long written on his Twitter account where he reported that he had “gone their separate ways” from Condé Nast. In it he said that he should never have tweeted that and that he has full responsibility in this regard, and that he believes that there are many stories to tell of marginalized communities and that we must focus on them.
All this trouble comes the same week in which in Atlanta, Georgia, a man has shot dead eight Asian people, seven of them women, in what has already been considered a racist and sexist hate crime. In addition, accusations of racism have been affecting the company that publishes Vogue in the US, where one in 10 of its employees identify as Asian. Last June, after the death of George Floyd and the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, Anna Wintour had to apologize.
The magazine’s editor admitted that the publication had engaged in “harmful and intolerant” behavior and sent a letter to apologize. “The pain, the violence and the injustice that we are seeing and that we are talking about have been there for a long time. We are late when it comes to recognizing it and doing something with it, ”Wintour confessed. “I know that Vogue It hasn’t found enough avenues to elevate and give space to black editors, copywriters, photographers, designers, and all manner of creators. In addition, we have made mistakes and published images and stories that have been harmful and intolerant. I take full responsibility for them ”.
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