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Teen Vogue's new editor apologizes over racist tweets amid staff concerns

“I apologize deeply to all of you for the pain this has caused. There’s no excuse for language like that,” Alexi McCammond told Teen Vogue staff members in an email.
Politicon 2018
Alexi McCammond speaks at Politicon 2018 at on Oct. 20, 2018, in Los Angeles.Michael S. Schwartz / Getty Images file

Racist and homophobic tweets from Teen Vogue's new editor resurfaced over the weekend, prompting her to address the nearly 10-year-old posts in a message to staffers who condemned her actions.

In an email obtained Tuesday by NBC News, Alexi McCammond said that while she has apologized for the tweets in the past, there was "no excuse for language like that."

"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 the message to staffers. "I apologize deeply to all of you for the pain this has caused."

McCammond, a political reporter at Axios, was hired as Teen Vogue's top editor on Friday. Her 2011 tweets were brought to light in an Instagram post from Diana Tsui, editorial director at the Infatuation. The post features screenshots of the old tweets, including one where she wrote she was "now googling how to not wake up with swollen, asian eyes."

More than 20 Teen Vogue staff members criticized McCammond's appointment in a widely shared note on Twitter on Monday, saying that her "racist and homophobic tweets" were concerning amid the heightened vitriol and violence against Asian Americans.

“We’ve built our outlet’s reputation as a voice for justice and change — we take immense pride in our work and in creating an inclusive environment,” staff members said in a statement. “In a moment of historically high anti-Asian violence and amid the on-going struggles of the LGBTQ community, we as the staff of Teen Vogue fully reject those sentiments.”

In the email, McCammond said she was fully committed to amplifying the voices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders "across our platforms, and building upon the groundbreaking, inclusive work this title is known for the world over."

She added that she may have lost the trust of some staff members, but said she was committed to earning it back.

McCammond did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. A spokesperson for Condé Nast, the company that owns Teen Vogue, addressed the tweets Tuesday in an email to NBC News.

“Throughout her career she has dedicated herself to being a champion for marginalized voices,” the spokesperson said. “Two years ago she took responsibility for her social media history and apologized.”

Last month, McCammond was embroiled in controversy after White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo was suspended after a report surfaced detailing allegations that he verbally harassed and threatened a female Politico reporter.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Ducklo's suspension following a report from Vanity Fair that said he had threatened the reporter after learning Politico was planning to publish an article on his previously undisclosed relationship with McCammond. He later resigned.

Ducklo was a former employee of the NBC News communications department, and McCammond was previously a contributor for NBC and MSNBC.

McCammond's hiring is the latest incident surrounding racial issues at Condé Nast.

In June, Adam Rapoport, the former editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit, resigned after a photo surfaced showing him in brownface and amid allegations that the magazine discriminated against people of color.

In a statement, Rapoport apologized for his actions and he needed "to reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being... and allow Bon Appétit to get to a better place."

After Rapoport's resignation, Anna Wintour, who has been at the helm of the fashion publication since 1988, sent an email to Vogue staffers acknowledging her shortcomings in uplifting the voices of people of color in her newsroom — particularly for its Black staff members.

"I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators," Wintour wrote in a Jun. 9 email. "We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes."

In a statement Friday announcing McCammond's hiring, Wintour praised her "powerful curiosity and confidence that embodies the best of our next generation of leaders."

McCammond is expected to step into her new role on March 24.