Tuesday, April 20, 2021

US magazine editor apologises for ‘anti-Asian’ tweets

Physical assaults on Asian-Americans over coronavirus-related racism have been reported in the US.

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The newly appointed editor of American women’s magazine Teen Vogue has apologised for sending “racist and homophobic” tweets.

Staff at the magazine signed a letter protesting at the hiring of Alexi McCammond, now 27, over comments she wrote in 2011.

The letter said it rejected her sentiments at this “moment of historically high anti-Asian violence”.

“I’m sorry to have used such hurtful and inexcusable language,” McCammond tweeted on Wednesday. “I’ve apologised for my past racist and homophobic tweets and will reiterate that there’s no excuse for perpetuating those awful stereotypes.”

A series of physical assaults on Asian-Americans have been reported in recent weeks, with many saying they fear further violence over coronavirus-related racism.

McCammond apologised for her tweets in 2019, calling them “deeply insensitive”. But after her appointment at Teen Vogue last week, journalist Diane Tsui unearthed some of the comments.

“Outdone by an Asian #whatsnew,” read one.

“Give me a 2/10 on my chemistry problem, cross out all of my work and don’t explain what I did wrong. Thanks a lot stupid Asian teaching assistant you’re great,” read another.

Tsui wrote, “Time and time again this shows that gatekeepers pay lip service to diversity. They don’t believe anti-racism policies can and should include Asian Americans.”

Teen Vogue, which has a large following among teenagers and readers in their 20s, has built a reputation for anti-racist and feminist journalism.

Staff at the magazine said that McCammond’s appointment threatened the magazine’s core values.

“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,” more than 20 staff wrote in a letter posted on Instagram on Tuesday.

“That’s why we have written a letter to management at Condé Nast about the recent hire of Alexi McCammond as our new editor-in-chief in light of her past racist and homophobic tweets.”

In her apology, McCammond said the incident made her introduction to Teen Vogue “awful” but insisted that she had dedicated her career to “giving a voice to the voiceless”.

She promised “better days ahead” for the magazine, writing: “The last thing I’d ever want is to make anyone – but especially our Asian brothers and sisters in particular – feel more invisible.”

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