Former Teen Vogue Editor Joins Staff in Denouncing Incoming Editor's Racist Tweets

Former Teen Vogue Editor Joins Staff in Denouncing Incoming Editor's Racist Tweets
Photo:JP Yim/Getty Images for Girlboss Rally NYC 2018 (Getty Images)

Scrutiny of new Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Alexi McCammond continues to intensify after past anti-Asian tweets of hers resurfaced after her recent hiring.

On Tuesday, one of McCammond’s predecessors, Elaine Welteroth, joined the publication’s current staff in condemning the tweets, and emphasizing the need for accountability during a segment of CBS’s “The Talk.”

“Everybody knows I was former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, so I have to put that out there,” Welteroth, a co-host on the show, begins. “That aside, it doesn’t matter—her tweets and the sentiments behind them were racist and abhorrent and indefensible, period. And I think at a time like this when there is a call for accountability around anti-Asian sentiment and just racist, violent actions against Asian people, we need to speak up.”

Since Teen Vogue staff released a public statement on Monday about their new editor-in-chief’s decade-old tweets, McCammond have responded with multiple statements of her own, making it clear that she intended to remain in her position and work to regain the trust of the newsroom.

In an initial statement to staff, shared with Jezebel by Condé Nast, McCammond apologized for the “offensive, idiotic tweets” as well as for the turmoil the staff experienced when they were dredged up again. “There’s no excuse for language like that. I am determined to use the lessons I’ve learned as a journalist to advocate for a more diverse and equitable world,” she wrote. “Those tweets aren’t who I am, but I understand that I have lost some of your trust, and will work doubly hard to earn it back.” In an accompanying statement, Condé Nast also highlighted that McCammond has apologized for the tweets before, when they first resurfaced in 2019.

But the apologies have failed to smooth over tensions at the magazine, and the internal strife appears to have reached advertisers: In light of concerns over Teen Vogue’s new leadership, Ulta Beauty has paused an estimated seven-figure campaign, according to the Daily Beast. “Diversity and inclusion are core values at Ulta Beauty—and always have been,” a spokesperson for the company said. “Our current spend with Teen Vogue is paused as we work with Condé Nast to evaluate the situation and determine next steps regarding our partnership.”

The Daily Beast reports that concern over fallout from advertisers was also discussed at a recent “high-level” Condé Nast sales meeting.

Following these new developments, McCammond posted a new, lengthier statement to her Twitter account on Wednesday night, apologizing once more.

“What an awful introduction we’ve had to each other this week, McCammond wrote. “ … I’m so sorry to have used such hurtful and inexcusable language. At any point in my life, it’s totally unacceptable. I hear that you’re hurt, angry, confused, and skeptical of how we move on from here. I probably would be too if I were you.

“ … I’m committed to sharing all of myself with you and having difficult conversations so that I’m always bettering myself—as an individual, a friend, a colleague, a partner, a daughter and sister, and now as a newsroom leader,” she continued. “I hope you share my desire for healing and I know all of you deserve better, happier, safer days ahead.”

Accountability, often invoked as if to imply a mutually understood set of actions that should follow, can be slippery in practice. It is not uncommon for one person’s definition to be incongruous with another’s. What happens next at Teen Vogue may depend on staff’s vision of accountability, and whether McCammond—and her employers—are willing to realize it.

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