Former Axios reporter, Alexi McCammond, was recently disgraced for tweets she now admits were homophobic and racist against Asians. Consequently, she lost her privileged new position as editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. It’s unsettling to see people get canceled for age-old mistakes. However, McCammond’s fall from grace is seen as poetic justice to some, considering not long ago she was working to cancel others. I know because I was one of those people.
In 2019, I was hired by the Bernie 2020 campaign after my viral video significantly outperformed the campaign’s first official ad. Soon after announcing my hire, McCammond shared a tweet smearing my character, adding that a decade-old video of mine was “pretty awful”. A short time later, I received a frantic call from Bernie 2020's campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, telling me that press was hounding him for a response.
I quickly drafted a response explaining that over ten years prior I had comedically edited Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech to say, “I have a dream to take drugs,” and other ridiculous things, to warn people of how easily media can be manipulated to deceive people. Moreover, that intention was well documented, as it was clearly stated in the YouTube video description for a decade.
Nevertheless, Shakir suggested I add my resignation to my written response, which I did. But considering my entire reputation and future were suddenly at stake, I chose not to publish my response until I’d given it more thought than one single hour. However, my working draft was immediately published without my consent by Alexi McCammond.
Behind the scenes, McCammond had been pressuring Shakir to respond to my otherwise insignificant 10-year-old video. Scared stupid by the poor optics, he leaked my draft to her after I’d updated it with my resignation. Incredibly, around that time, McCammond was reportedly the only Axios reporter covering the 2020 Democratic Primary — one of the most crowded primary fields in history — and she chose to focus time on a decade-old YouTube video to publicly shame someone so far down the totem pole as a video editor.
McCammond aimed to shoot down celebrities too, though. The following month, she shamed the NBA’s Charles Barkley, a legendary jokester, for uttering a joke in a casual group setting.
Even though Barkley made clear it was a joke, and even though Barkley was responding to McCammond poking fun at Barkley, she declared that the joke was “not OK”.
She accused Barkley of “misogyny” and threatening violence with his joke. “Threats of violence are not a joke, & no person deserves to be hit or threatened like that,” she lectured.
Ironically, McCammond’s romantic partner would later threaten to “destroy” a female journalist at Politico, and submit her to disgusting sexist attacks, for exposing McCammond’s unethical reporting practices. And unlike Charles Barkley, McCammond’s partner was not joking.
A few months after announcing her engagement to another man on MSNBC, Politico revealed that McCammond had entered a serious secret relationship with the Biden White House Deputy Press Secretary, TJ Ducklo—a clear journalistic ethics violation considering McCammond continued to report on the Biden administration.
Before the Politico story broke, Ducklo threatened its author, Tara Palmeri, telling her over the phone, “I will destroy you”. He also vowed to ruin her reputation if she published. Ducklo continued his abusive attack, accusing the female reporter of being “jealous” that a man “wanted to fuck” McCammond “and not you.” The Biden administration put Ducklo on a one-week suspension.
Only after more public pressure did Ducklo later resign. So it appears that finally, someone who actually deserved public backlash for abusing their authority suffered some repercussions. But most often the people who lose in today’s “cancel culture” are not dangerous egomaniacs like McCammond’s partner, or scheming political operators like McCammond, who has the support of large propaganda networks like MSNBC.
Most victims of cancel culture are regular people you’ve never heard of like Christine Davitt. Davitt was a social media manager at Teen Vogue who called for McCammond’s resignation for old tweets. Later, it was discovered Davitt herself had objectionable old tweets too. In 2009, she used the n-word, calling a friend “ni — a”. Soon after being publicly shamed, she was no longer employed, updating her bio to “formerly” Teen Vogue. While this appears to be another fitting example of poetic justice, it’s still concerning to see someone cast to the street for casually uttering a single word, 12 years ago, with no ill will towards anyone.
I imagine most people can look back at their past and see things they would never do or say quite the same way in the present. Unfortunately, it seems often only those with friends in high places can most effectively recover from the financial and social damage of getting canceled. Luckily for McCammond, she is one of those people. So despite her glaring hypocrisy, admittedly bigoted statements, and proven history of unethical journalism, McCammond was quickly scooped back up again by the corporate news at MSNBC.