Condé Nast is facing increasing pressure over Teen Vogue’s incoming editor in chief Alexi McCammond after her past racist and homophobic tweets were unearthed.
On Wednesday evening, The Daily Beast reported that Ulta had paused its current advertising campaign with Teen Vogue that’s said to be worth seven figures.
“Diversity and inclusion are core values at Ulta Beauty — and always have been,” an Ulta spokesperson told the news site. “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.”
Just hours after the Ulta news emerged, the Fashion for All Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to create awareness and promote diversity and equality in the fashion industry, has called on the publisher to immediately remove McCammond from her position.
“McCammond’s homophobic and racist views may have been written some time ago, but Condé Nast needs to set a precedent of zero tolerance and choose an editor in chief who has always made their position on racism, homophobia and bigotry clear,” the group said in an Instagram post that was shared by designer Phillip Lim.
Shortly after this was revealed, McCammond issued a public apology on Twitter: “What an awful introduction we’ve had to each other this week,” she said. “This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life, in part because of the intense pain I know my words and my announcement have caused so many of you.”
She continued: “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. I am so sorry to have used such hurtful and inexcusable language. At any point in my life, it’s totally unacceptable.”
Her tweets were shared on Instagram over the weekend by Diana Tsui, editorial director of restaurant recommendation site The Infatuation, with the caption, “I’m tired of big media organizations pretending to give a damn about diversity and inclusion. And this especially is a slap in the face given what’s happened to Asian Americans in the past year.”
Anti-Asian hate crimes have risen dramatically over the last year, ignited by racist allusions by politicians, like former President Donald Trump, to the coronavirus pandemic.
One of McCammond’s tweets said, “now googling how to not wake up with swollen, asian eyes.” Another 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.”
On Monday, more than 20 members of Teen Vogue’s staff wrote to Condé Nast expressing concerns over McCammond. “We’ve heard the concerns of our readers, and we stand with you. In a moment of historically high anti-Asian violence and amid the ongoing struggles of the LGBTQ community, we as the staff of Teen Vogue fully reject those sentiments,” part of a statement shared on Twitter read. “We are hopeful that an internal conversation will prove fruitful in maintaining the integrity granted to us by our audience.”
Actress and director Olivia Munn and former Teen Vogue editor in chief Elaine Welteroth have also spoken out this week. When asked about McCammond’s tweets during an interview with NBC on Wednesday, Munn responded that it was a tough one for her and something that she has wrestled with a lot.
“We’ve all said silly things and she was 17 at the time. So, I definitely think there is, you know, a lot that we have to kind of give her some grace on for that,” she said. “But those comments are hard to read because I remember growing up and have people tease me for my mom’s Asian eyes, for my Asian eyes and it’s a triggering thing to read. I think she should be judged more on how she’s taking the responsibility today and I think it’s important for people to hear her say that these were racist comments and there’s nothing excusable about.”
Earlier in the week, Welteroth, now a cohost of CBS’ “The Talk,” said: “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 do need to speak up.”
On Wednesday, the Asian American Journalists Association called on Condé Nast to “publicly, forcefully and concretely show its commitment to fair, accurate and comprehensive coverage of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and to ensure a safe and inclusive workplace for its AAPI employees.”
“We want to see that Teen Vogue and its new leader develop and share specific strategies and goals to ensure that AAPI communities are accurately reflected in their newsroom and in their coverage — and that Condé Nast will fully empower the leadership to put those plans into action,” it said.
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