March 10, 2021
AAJA calls on Condé Nast to ensure its commitment to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and employees
In light of the controversy over past tweets of the incoming Teen Vogue editor in chief, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and our Young Professionals Network call on Condé Nast to publicly, forcefully and concretely show its commitment to fair, accurate and comprehensive coverage of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) 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.
After Condé Nast publicly announced Alexi McCammond as Teen Vogue’s editor in chief, tweets resurfaced showing that in 2011, McCammond had used racist anti-Asian stereotypes. In 2019, McCammond tweeted an apology and deleted the tweets. After a group of employees rightfully raised concerns this week, she told the Teen Vogue staff that there is no excuse for her tweets.
We denounce the racist tweets. But we also believe that there is room for everyone to acknowledge, learn and grow from past mistakes. We support the long overdue appointment of more journalists of color and women for top leadership positions. And we believe in this moment’s potential for difficult conversations around allyship, and learning how we can better support each other.
We nonetheless have grave concerns about Condé Nast’s commitment to AAPI communities, especially given Teen Vogue’s outsize reach and role in shaping the views and opinions of millions of young Americans.
Although the deleted tweets have been publicly known since 2019, there were no measures taken publicly by Condé Nast proactively reassuring its commitment to diversity and inclusion to its employees and to the AAPI community.
This is discouraging, given Condé Nast’s ownership of other publications that have been accused of discriminatory and racist behavior towards journalists of color and the rise in anti-Asian sentiments across the country.
Condé Nast must make clear that its leaders at every level not only denounce the kind of views reflected in the deleted tweets, but also will examine and make transparent their hiring practices and policies. The company must also make clear how it plans to ensure that its workplace is safe for and equitable toward AAPI professionals and fair in its coverage of the AAPI community.
AAJA and its Young Professionals Network call on Condé Nast, Teen Vogue and McCammond to assure its employees, audiences, and the American public how they plan to be fully inclusive in the management, production, and voice of its publication.
Today, we spoke with McCammond and the chief diversity officer at Conde Nast about their efforts to understand and address our community’s concerns. We look forward to continuing our dialogue and being a resource and thought partner as they work to build an even more inclusive newsroom and produce thoughtful and equitable coverage that includes AAPI communities. As always, AAJA stands ready to help.
— Asian American Journalists Association Board of Directors and AAJA Young Professionals Network