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.’
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?’
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
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.
Now ousted Teen Vogue editor Alexi McCammond is pictured dressed as a native American after being forced to quit over old ‘racist’ tweets – despite already apologizing
Smiling for the camera in a Native American fancy dress outfit, this is the journalist who was forced to quit as editor of Teen Vogue in a race row.
Yesterday it was claimed that Vogue editor Dame Anna Wintour desperately tried to save her protege Alexi McCammond even as staff led a revolt over her allegedly racist and homophobic tweets for which she has already apologised.
The Vogue editor-in-chief spent two weeks trying to ‘build support’ for the journalist as scandal swirled, insiders said.
Alexi McCammond (right) pictured as a Native American, it comes as she is already under fire for a string of allegedly racist and homophobic tweets
Yesterday it was claimed that Vogue editor Dame Anna Wintour (pictured) desperately tried to save her protege Alexi McCammond even as staff led a revolt over her allegedly racist and homophobic tweets for which she has already apologised
As complaints mounted, Miss McCammond was given the chance to meet with staff to ‘apologise and listen to their concerns,’ The New York Times reported.
Her string of anti-Asian tweets from 2011 were known about in the upper echelons of Vogue but they were blindsided by a homophobic message and the photograph.
Insiders said they had not known about the picture from a Halloween party in 2011 because it had been deleted from her Twitter feed.
But The National Pulse found and published it this week.
The 27-year-old quit as editor of the online magazine on Thursday before her first proper day in the job after the row became public.
Prior to that, publisher Conde Nast reportedly tried to stop affronted Teen Vogue staff from speaking out and told them to keep criticism ‘in the family’.
The old tweets resurfaced after Miss McCammond was named as the new editor of Teen Vogue on March 5. In one tweet from 2011, when she was 17, she wrote how she was ‘Googling how to not wake up with swollen Asian eyes’.
In another from the same year, she blamed a ‘stupid Asian’ teaching assistant for her failures during chemistry lessons.
Other tweets used the terms ‘Asian’, ‘homo’ and ‘gay’ in a derogatory ways.
Even amid a revolt from staff on the magazine, Dame Anna had stood by Miss McCammond, it was reported.
The editor-in-chief, 71, had tried to turn the tide for the former Washington political reporter because she thought she was an ‘impressive’ candidate, it was claimed.
There are also questions about the vetting process before Miss McCammond was given the job.
The row has caused huge embarrassment for Conde Nast and Dame Anna, who is still reeling from claims by her own staff that Vogue has discriminated against minority groups on its pages and in the office.
And last week, Vogue US made an extraordinary claim that the Daily Mail was racist after a headline regarding the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan spoke of ‘niggling’ worries.
Despite a complaint from this paper regarding the ‘extremely serious and unfounded allegation’, Dame Anna’s team have refused to correct it.
Prior to quitting, Miss McCammond had been given one-on-one access to individual staff members and said in a note to Teen Vogue colleagues that the tweets were ‘offensive and idiotic’.
She had previously issued a public apology in 2019 and it was thought she had learned from her mistakes, Conde Nast HR boss Stan Duncan said in a memo to staff.
The Daily Beast reported that the reaction from Teen Vogue staff was ‘mixed’ and some thought Miss McCammond was remorseful while others did not think she should get the job.
Staff were told to keep criticism ‘in the family’, running any plans to speak through the company communications department. As well as publishing the controversial photo, The National Pulse wrote: ‘This is what the Left calls “cultural appropriation” and they frequently attempt to “cancel” people for the “crime”.
‘The National Pulse abhors cancel culture and the constant churn of “gotcha” stories involving people’s lives. But we love pointing out the hypocrisy of the Left more. Hence this article.’
Conde Nast refused to comment on the new allegations last night.
But a Vogue insider said: ‘We hoped it would work out and that’s why we had so many meetings over the last two weeks to discuss internally.’