Alexi McCammond is a 27-year-old political writer and the recipient of a 2019 award from the National Association of Black Journalists. She was slated to become the next editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue.
But on Thursday, McCammond announced her resignation from that position, following outrage from staff members—and two advertisers—over some tweets that made fun of Asian people. She wrote them in 2011, when she was a teenager.
"I should not have tweeted what I did and I take full responsibility for that," said McCammond in a statement. "I wish that talented team at Teen Vogue the absolute best moving forward."
Conde Nest, the media company that owns Teen Vogue, was aware of the tweets when it hired McCammond, who had already apologized for them. The bosses evidently did not expect such furor from Teen Vogue staff—though that's rather shortsighted on their part, given the large number of similar uprisings at progressive media workspaces. Even so, the perception that anti-Asian hate crimes are rising—including the possibility that the Georgia massage parlor murders were motivated by anti-Asian bias—meant it was bad timing for an incoming editor to be involved in an even tangentially related controversy.
We should be clear about a couple things. First, McCammond apologized. She apologized profusely, and she apologized repeatedly. And she did not just apologize this week, when her job was in jeopardy. She apologized back in 2019.
Second, the tweets in question are indeed offensive: a mix of anti-Asian stereotypes, and even some homophobia. But they were written when she was 17. She should not have said those things, and she is right to be sorry about it. But I doubt you could find a teenager on the planet who has never uttered something mean-spirited. We are beginning to hold people to unattainable standards. Kids are not perfect, and they make mistakes all the time. The point is to learn from them, apologize when necessary, and grow past them. Lots of people said offensive things in their adolescence; it's just that in this case, thanks to Twitter, there is a record of her comments.
Is there no room to forgive someone for a youthful, decade-old transgression? Just look at the thoroughness of McCammond's apology:
— Alexi McCammond (@alexi) March 11, 2021
It wasn't enough. It never will be. The new enforcers of morality—the pitchfork-wielding employees of progressive media companies and their swarms of social-media allies—have decided that no one may dwell in their midst unless they were born without sin. This poisonous approach will, if anything, make people more reticent to apologize or acknowledge wrongdoing. Instead they'll shrug and say, "What's the point?"