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Is There Room for Redemption in ‘Cancel Culture’?

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

I am hardly a core member of Teen Vogue magazine’s demographic. But I began to pay attention to the lively Conde Nast publication back in 2016 when their take on the presidential race showed they were about more than fashion, makeup and boy bands.

The one prominent example that had Washington’s grown-ups gabbing was an essay, “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America,” by Lauren Duca, which the online-only publication says received more than a million hits. It also added a new word to my political vocabulary that I would find regrettably useful during the Trump presidency.

So I was excited for Alexi McCammond, 27 — a Rockford native who won a four-year scholarship to the University of Chicago, and also a promising Washington political reporter for Axios and on-air contributor for MSNBC — when Conde Nast named her in early March to replace Lindsay Peoples Wagner as Teen Vogue’s new editor-in-chief.

And regrettably, I was disappointed last week when McCammond, who is Black, was forced to withdraw because of anti-Asian and homophobic tweets that she tapped out in 2011 as a teenager.

Three of the tweets in question made derogatory, racist comments about Asians. One read, “Outdone by Asian. #Whatsnew.”

Another: “Now Googling how to not wake up with swollen, Asian eyes…”

 

And a third, referencing a teaching assistant: “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 TA. You’re great.”

The now-deleted tweets, which she discussed with Conde Nast during her hiring process, first surfaced in 2019. She apologized, saying she was “deeply sorry” and the posts “do not reflect my views or who I am today.”

But last week, the day after eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in Atlanta-area spas, Ulta Beauty skin care and cosmetics announced it had paused its ad spending at Teen Vogue in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

By then, calls for the magazine to replace her already were piling up. The backlash included a statement of protest posted by more than 20 staff members,

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