Reports: Anna Wintour Tried, Failed to Save 'Teen' Editor's Job after Anti-Gay, Racist Posts Were Revealed

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday March 19, 2021

Famed Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour attempted to save the job of incoming Teen Vogue editor Alexi McCammond, even as pressure mounted to replace McCammond in the wake of racist and homophobic posts from 2011 coming to light, UK newspaper Daily Mail reports.

Wintour, 71, is widely seen as the inspiration for Meryl Streep's character in"The Devil Wears Prada." Wikipedia notes that she is also "the global chief content officer for Condé Nast".

"Wintour... was aware of the decade-old racist tweets and discussed them with leaders of color at Condé Nast before the job was offered, The New York Times reported," Daily Mail recalled.

As "Wintour tried to build support for the would-be Teen Vogue editor... and included her in team meetings," the story added, "McCammond met one-on-one with staff."

She sent her new coworkers a letter in which she said, "You've seen some offensive, idiotic tweets from when I was a teenager that perpetuated harmful and racist stereotypes about Asian Americans.

"I apologized for them years ago, but I want to be clear today: I apologize deeply to all of you for the pain this has caused."

Staffers were not satisfied, and "said it sent the wrong message during a time of increased attacks on Asian Americans," the article recounted.

They expressed concern at McCammond's lack of experience, and noted that "there were other black women within Conde Nast who would have been better suited to the job."

As calls for McCammond's dismissal grew, Teen Vogue lost an ad deal worth millions, the story recounted. "Beauty store chain Ulta... pulled a seven-figure ad campaign with Teen Vogue over the scandal," the article said. "There were also talks among sales teams that it could cost the company even more in advertising revenues."

Wintour pulled her support, and McCammond saw the writing on the wall with the "abrupt" cancellation of a meeting "with Wintour and top Vogue executives," the Daily Mail recounted.

McCammond announced her departure from Teen Vogue on March 18, the day after the cancelled meeting was to have taken place.

Though the posts in question had been deleted in 2019, when McCammond was working for Axios, screenshots still circulate. The Daily Mail shared one that made racist remarks about a college teaching assistant, and two that were homophobic in nature - one of them questioning, "Why is this 'newsworthy?' It's not" about an article about Derek Scott, an umpire with Major League baseball, coming out of the closet, and the other quoting an anti-gay slur and applauding it with the comment, "hahahahahhaaaa".

Wintour send a note of apology to Vogue staffers last June that apologized "for 'mistakes' made in her 32-year tenure in not doing enough to elevate black voices on her staff and publishing images and stories that have been racially and culturally 'hurtful or intolerant,' " the Associated Press reported at the time.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.