News & Politics

Alexi McCammond Returns to Axios After Controversial Teen Vogue Exit

"We have your back. And though the internet does not grant forgiveness, we do," wrote Axios's editor-in-chief in an internal memo.

Screenshot of a 2020 Alexi McCammond appearance on C-SPAN.

Alexi McCammond has returned to her former role as a political reporter at Axios. The 27-year-old journalist was tapped to lead Teen Vogue in March, but split with Condé Nast two weeks later, after Teen Vogue staffers protested racist tweets McCammond published in college. McCammond will return to covering progressive politicians for Axios, along with the 2022 midterm elections.

An Axios press release announcing her return on July 1 touted McCammond’s four years of experience at Axios covering Congress and the White House. However, in an internal memo obtained by Washingtonian, Axios editor-in-chief Nick Johnston directly confronts McCammond’s tweets.

“What’s unchanged is the Lexi we know, the one many of us worked with for four years, who should not be defined by a mistake from college,” writes Johnston. “That’s not to diminish the tweets. They were racist and dead wrong.”

The editor goes on to condemn the culture of “online trolls” that dug up Mccammond’s tweets from 2011:

The bottom line: Most importantly, the initial attacks on Lexi were not about justice or equity. They were motivated by the mob. And as I have said before, the mob does not run this newsroom. We have your back. And though the internet does not grant forgiveness, we do.

The Teen Vogue departure wasn’t McCammond’s only controversy this year. Her relationship with former White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo made headlines after a Vanity Fair article revealed that Ducklo threatened to “destroy” Politico Playbook author Tara Palmeri while she was reporting on the couple’s romance. The duo met while McCammond was covering the Biden campaign and Ducklo served as the campaign’s press secretary. McCammond requested to be moved off the Biden beat in November, switching to cover the progressive movement and Kamala Harris.

McCammond continued to work in the interim between her swift exit from Teen Vogue and her return to Axios, interviewing Valerie Jarett for NBC News and appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” In a statement published on Twitter announcing her withdrawal from Teen Vogue, the reporter made clear her desire to return to a newsroom.

“There are so many stories left to be told, especially those about marginalized communities and the issues affecting them,” wrote McCammond. “I hope to have the opportunity to re-join the ranks of tireless journalists who are shining a light on the issues that matter every single day.”

The full text of the Axios internal memo is below.

What’s new: Alexi McCammond is coming back to Axios. She’ll be starting soon as a part-time political reporter and will become full time in the fall to also contribute on TV (please keep this in the cone until we share publicly).

For those of you who maybe don’t know Lexi, but know of her…

  • Lexi joined Axios in early 2017 as one of our first weekend newsdesk editors and eventually started covering politics and Congress, anchored a midterm newsletter we did for Apple News, and became a regular contributor to “Axios on HBO.”

She’s a good reporter and a kind colleague and has been in the news herself:

  • At an event in 2019, Lexi told Charles Barkley his misogny wasn’t funny. In response, online trolls dredged up some racist tweets by Lexi from when she was in college. Lexi apologized, in public and in person during a news meeting, and individually to colleagues. She proved in her words and actions to be a thoughtful colleague.
  • Those Tweets resurfaced when Lexi was recruited to run Teen Vogue.

What’s unchanged is the Lexi we know, the one many of us worked with for four years, who should not be defined by a mistake from college; the Lexi we are welcoming back to Axios.

  • That’s not to diminish the tweets. They were racist and dead wrong.

The bottom line: Most importantly, the initial attacks on Lexi were not about justice or equity. They were motivated by the mob. And as I have said before, the mob does not run this newsroom. We have your back. And though the internet does not grant forgiveness, we do.

If you have questions, concerns, sadnesses about this you should reach out to me or Sara or Dominique. Or your colleagues who know Lexi. Or Lexi herself, who is familiar with the long road to redemption and is open to speaking with folks. (If you get any outside requests for comment please send those comms@axios.com).

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Daniella Byck
Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.