Alexi McCammond’s ex-colleague Jonathan Swan comes to defense of ousted Teen Vogue editor-in-chief


A former colleague of ousted Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Alexi McCammond is coming to the journalist’s defense after she was forced to step down over staffers’ objections to decade-old tweets mocking Asians and homosexuals.

Jonathan Swan, the chief national correspondent for news site Axios who worked alongside McCammond for four years, told Fox News on Friday that McCammond’s apology should have sufficed and she should have been allowed to keep her job.

McCammond began working as a political reporter for Axios in 2017. While covering the Biden campaign last year, she developed a romance with TJ Ducklo, a Biden press aide. 

She then informed her bosses at Axios, who reassigned her to cover Kamala Harris. Ducklo quit the Biden press shop after he made sexist and threatening remarks to a Politico reporter who asked him about his relationship with McCammond.

Earlier this month, it was announced that McCammond would take over as the new editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, but staffers at the online publication mounted fierce resistance to the move over decade-old tweets in which she disparaged Asians. 

‘I was just really sad to see this happen,’ Swan told Fox News.

‘I worked with her for four years. She doesn’t have a racist bone in her body.

‘If we can’t as an industry accept somebody’s sincere and repeated apologies for something they tweeted when they were 17 years old, what are we doing?’

Swan added that his employers at Axios didn’t fire McCammond after she first apologized for the tweets in 2019. 

He said McCammond, a 27-year-old black woman, is an ‘advocate for anti-racism.’

Former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Alexi McCammond

Jonathan Swan (left), the chief national correspondent for news site Axios who worked alongside Alexi McCammond (right) for four years, told Fox News on Friday that McCammond’s apology should have sufficed and she should have been allowed to keep her job as editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue

‘I was upset to see this because it really is just a very stark example of if we can’t allow ourselves to forgive people when they did something or said something or tweeted something when they were 17 years old, and there is no indication in their current professional lives that they harbor these views, not a single indication, I don’t know what we’re doing here really,’ he said.

Swan’s comments on Fox News echoed his tweets from Thursday. Just after McCammond announced she was stepping down, Swan tweeted: ‘I’ve worked with @alexi for four years. I know her well and can say this unequivocally: The idea she is racist is absurd. 

‘Where the hell are we as an industry if we cannot accept a person’s sincere and repeated apologies for tweets when they were a teenager?’ 

Other prominent media figures came to McCammond’s defense, including CNN’s Abby Phillip, who tweeted that the ousted journalist is ‘obviously not who she was when she wrote those tweets.’

‘I’m sorry to see that she won’t be moving forward in this position,’ Phillip tweeted.

‘It’s beyond fair to demand true remorse and accountability, but Alexi demonstrated those things and I wish she’d been given a chance.’

Political pundit Bill Kristol tweeted: ‘In what world does it make sense that Alexi McCammond is out of a job and Andrew Cuomo still has his?’ 

Cuomo, the governor of New York, has been accused by several women of sexual harassment. The governor has denied the allegations.

Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell tweeted: ‘The criminalization of black adolescent behavior is one of the bedrock principles of American racism. 

‘White people get a childhood and the privilege to make mistakes in the name of moral development. 

‘Black people don’t.’

Gladwell later tweeted: ‘Question for Condé Nast HR: have they also scrutinized the childhood statements of their white editors?’ 

Teen Vogue editor Alexi McCammond has resigned over racist, anti-Asian tweets she wrote as a teenager surfaced online

It emerged on Thursday that Conde Nast boss Anna Wintour knew about the tweets but gave McCammond the job anyway

McCammond (left) on Thursday resigned over racist, anti-Asian tweets she wrote as a teenager surfaced online. It emerged on Thursday that Conde Nast boss Anna Wintour (right) knew about the tweets but gave McCammond the job anyway

Swan replied to Gladwell’s tweet, writing: ‘Great question!’ 

Condé Nast is the media empire whose holdings include Vogue, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, and other outlets.

Political pollster Frank Luntz tweeted: ‘Another career destroyed by the #woke mob. Alexi McCammond is a brilliant reporter and even a progressive, but she has been canceled for stuff she tweeted nearly a decade ago in college. The Robespierre Reign of Terror continues…’ 

Earlier on Friday, it was learned that Anna Wintour tried to save McCammond but could not stop her from being forced out less than two weeks after taking the job.

McCammond, 27, was fired over anti-Asian tweets she wrote as a teenager, in 2011, which surfaced online and cost Conde Nast a seven-figure ad campaign. 

McCammond’s resurfaced tweets include one in which she wrote: ‘Googling how to not wake up with swollen Asian eyes’.

Another now-deleted tweet 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.’

Wintour, the chief content officer and the global editorial director of Vogue, was aware of the decade-old racist tweets and discussed them with leaders of color at Condé Nast before the job was offered, The New York Times reported.

They felt she had learnt from her mistakes, but they were not aware of homophobic tweets or a photo, also from 2011, that was recently published by a right-wing website showing her in Native American costume at a Halloween party. The vetting process did not turn up the additional material because it had been deleted, the executive added. 

Wintour tried to build support for the would-be Teen Vogue editor, the paper said, and included her in team meetings.

McCammond met one-on-one with staff, to try and ease their concerns, and explained her actions in a note.

‘You’ve seen some offensive, idiotic tweets from when I was a teenager that perpetuated harmful and racist stereotypes about Asian Americans,’ she wrote in a note to her new colleagues, obtained by The Daily Beast

‘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.’ 

Condé Nast’s human resources department also met with the Teen Vogue staff, and the staff were reminded of a company policy requiring them to check with the communications team before making public statements. 

The staff members were also told they should keep their criticisms ‘in the family’ – further adding to their anger.

On Monday a meeting, scheduled for Wednesday with Wintour and top Vogue executives, was abruptly canceled and not rescheduled, indicating to McCammond that her position was no longer tenable. 

The Daily Beast reported that Condé Nast management called a meeting with staffers for Thursday afternoon to discuss the new editor’s exit.  

The offensive tweets were deleted in 2019, when McCammond was working as a political reporter for Axios.

They resurfaced after she was named as the new editor on March 5. 

It’s unclear if she ever started the job. 

On March 9, the tweets had gone viral and she was apologizing for them. 

Conde Nast initially stood by her and allowed her to keep the position. 

Staffers were irate that she was allowed to keep her job and said it sent the wrong message during a time of increased attacks on Asian Americans, but she stayed on. 

They also complained that she was inexperienced, having never worked as an editor or manager before, and that there were other black women within Conde Nast who would have been better suited to the job. 

They wrote an open letter demanding that she be replaced and also complained directly to CEO Robert Lynch.

Beauty store chain Ulta then pulled a seven-figure ad campaign with Teen Vogue over the scandal. There were also talks among sales teams that it could cost the company even more in advertising revenues. 

It has also emerged that in an email to staff around the same time Conde Nast HR boss Stan Duncan revealed that Anna Wintour and CEO Roger Lynch knew about the decade-old racist tweets but hired her anyway. 

On Thursday, McCammond tweeted that she and the company were ‘parting ways’. 

It sparked a mixed reaction – some said it was appropriate given what she’d done but others called it cancel culture gone too far. They criticized Conde Nast for seemingly hanging her out to dry.  

‘I want to be fully transparent with you about our decision-making process regarding her appointment. 

‘When Alexi was was a teenager she made racially charged statements on social media about Asian people.

‘Alexi was straight forward and transparent about these posts during our interview process and through public apologies,’ HR boss Stan Duncan said in an internal memo. 

‘Given her previous acknowledgement of these posts and her sincere apologies, in addition to her remarkable work in journalism elevating the voices of marginalized communities, we were looking forward to welcoming her into our community.

‘In addition, we were hopeful that Alexi would become part of our team to provide perspective and insight that is underrepresented throughout the media.

‘We were dedicated to making her successful in this role and spent time working with her, our company leadership and the Teen Vogue team to find the best path forward. 

‘To that end, after speaking with Alexi this morning, we agreed that it was best to part ways, so as to not overshadow the important work happening at Teen Vogue,’ he went on. 

In a Twitter statement on Thursday, McCammond said she and the company had decided to ‘part ways’. 

McCammond’s resignation also comes after her boyfriend was fired from his role as  Deputy White House Secretary for threatening to ‘destroy’ a female reporter if they exposed their relationship.

Before working at Vogue, McCammond was working as a political reporter at Axios. 

McCammond is dating disgraced former Deputy White House Secretary TJ Ducklo who was fired after threatening to destroy a reporter if she exposed their relationship. Before working at Vogue, McCammond worked at Axios

McCammond is dating disgraced former Deputy White House Secretary TJ Ducklo who was fired after threatening to destroy a reporter if she exposed their relationship. Before working at Vogue, McCammond worked at Axios

TEEN VOGUE EDITOR RESIGNATION IS THE LATEST IN A STRING OF RACE SCANDALS UNDER ANNA WINTOUR 

McCammond’s resignation is the latest in a string of race scandals under Anna Wintour’s leadership at Conde Nast. 

The brand has for years been accused of not putting enough black or women of color on the cover of its publications, particularly Vogue. 

She tried to explain it away by saying: ‘Undoubtedly, I have made mistakes along the way, and if any mistakes were made at Vogue under my watch, they are mine to own and remedy and I am committed to doing the work.’ 

Wintour has been at the helm of the magazine since the late 1980s but the issue has reared its head over the last year amid a cultural shift in attitudes towards racism and diversity.

Wintour's relationship with Andre Leon Talley, the former editor-at-large, also crumbled under years of what he called a toxic workplace

Wintour’s relationship with Andre Leon Talley, the former editor-at-large, also crumbled under years of what he called a toxic workplace

In June, Wintour did not take part in a company-wide call about how to promote black staffers. There were enormous calls for her to resign but Conde Nast stood by her. 

She released a statement saying: ‘I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators. We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. 

Written by a British journalist called Hamish Bowles, it sought to argue that the UK media was institutionally racist and, more specifically, suggested that racist intent lay behind a decision by the Daily Mail to use the word u2018nigglingu2019 in the headline of an article about the coupleu2019s engagement that was written by my colleague, Sarah Vine, back in 2017

Written by a British journalist called Hamish Bowles, it sought to argue that the UK media was institutionally racist and, more specifically, suggested that racist intent lay behind a decision by the Daily Mail to use the word ‘niggling’ in the headline of an article about the couple’s engagement that was written by my colleague, Sarah Vine, back in 2017

‘I take full responsibility for those mistakes. It can’t be easy to be a Black employee at Vogue, and there are too few of you. 

‘I know that it is not enough to say we will do better, but we will — and please know that I value your voices and responses as we move forward. I am listening and would like to hear your feedback and your advice if you would like to share either.’ 

Her relationship with Andre Leon Talley, the former editor-at-large, also crumbled under years of what he called a toxic workplace. 

‘Anna Wintour’s a colonial broad…her stiletto heel was on my neck,’ he told the Daily Mail after her statement, adding: ‘At one point, I was the only black person on Anna’s staff. 

‘This statement, for me, is devoid of sincerity. It comes from the world of whiteness and privilege. Anna probably feels that her apology will be a defining moment but knowing her, it will soon be back to business as usual.

‘She’ll click, clack, clicketyclack down the hall in her Manolo Blahniks and move on. It’s a corporate stance, directed at future advertisers. 

‘It’s Anna striking a pose, as the Madonna song says. Why? Because as a powerful businesswoman and head of all Conde Nast editorially she wants to be on the right side of history, not the wrong side.’ 

In October, a collection of black, former Vogue staffers demanded that Wintour relinquish control of the magazine. They described a toxic work environment at a publication that promoted a ‘thin, white and rich’ mentality.

‘Fashion is bitchy. It’s hard. This is the way it’s supposed to be. But at Vogue, when we’d evaluate a shoot or a look, we’d say ‘That’s Vogue,’ or, ‘That’s not Vogue,’ and what that really meant,’ one said. 

The racial connotations of the petu2019s name were, of course, overlooked. And the author of this puff piece? Why, that would be Hamish Bowles (pictured)

The racial connotations of the pet’s name were, of course, overlooked. And the author of this puff piece? Why, that would be Hamish Bowles (pictured)

Despite its own issues with race relations, Vogue ran a piece by Hamish Bowles where he claimed the Daily Mail had been racist in its coverage of Meghan and Harry, and claimed inaccurately that the use of the word ‘niggling’ in one article headline had racial undertones.

The headline was: ‘Why do I have a niggling worry about this engagement picture?’ 

‘Niggling’ means ‘to gnaw at’ or a ‘persistent annoyance’. 

But Bowles said the use of it was racist. 

‘In 2017, the Daily Mail, featuring Harry and Meghan’s touching engagement picture on the front page, saw fit to run the headline from their columnist Sarah Vine: ‘Yes, they’re joyfully in love. ‘So why do I have a niggling worry about this engagement picture?’ (Webster’s defines the word niggling thus: ‘bothersome or persistent especially in a petty or tiresome way’.

‘Nevertheless, the word seemed a surprising choice and jumped from the page, as presumably it was intended to,’ Bowles wrote.

Conde Nast defended him, calling the choice of word ‘surprising’.  

On Thursday, amid a swell of outrage over anti-Asian violence after a gunman killed six Asian women at three massage parlors in Georgia, she said: ‘Hey there: I’ve decided to part ways with Condé Nast.’ 

‘My past tweets have overshadowed the work I’ve done to highlight the people and issues that I care about – issues that Teen Vogue has worked so tirelessly to share with the world – and so Conde Nast an I have decided to part ways.

‘I should not have tweeted what I did and I have taken full responsibility for that. 

‘I look at my work and growth in the years since, and have redoubled my commitment to growing in the years to come as both a person and as a professional,’ she said. 

McCammond issued a lengthy apology on March 9. 

‘What an awful introduction we’ve had to each other this week. 

‘This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life in large part because of the intense pain I know my words and my announcement have caused so many of you.

‘I’ve apologized for my past racist and homophobic tweets and will reiterate that there’s no excuse for perpetuating those awful stereotypes in any way,’ she said. 

The tweets were all written in 2011, when she was in high school, long before she took a job in journalism. 

Before Axios, she also worked at MSNBC. 

Originally after the tweets surfaced, she called them ‘idiotic’ and ‘offensive’ but not racist. 

She then came under pressure to acknowledge that they are racist from stars including Olivia Munn.

On March 11, Ulta halted advertising with Teen Vogue. 

‘Diversity and inclusion have always been core values at Ulta Beauty. 

‘We stand against racism in all forms and as we’ve publicly shared in our social channels, we stand in unity with the AAPI community. 

‘We believe it’s important that our partners share our values. 

‘Our discussions with Conde Nast are actively underway as we seek to better understand their next steps and determine ours,’ the beauty brand said in a statement.



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