Emily VanDerWerff

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Emily VanDerWerff
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Born (1982-12-01) December 1, 1982 (age 40)
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Criti
  • Journalist
  • Podcaster
  • Author

Emily Nicole VanDerWerff (born December 1, 1982)[1] is an American critic, journalist, podcaster, and author. She primarily writes about television. She has written for Vox, The A.V. Club, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Grantland, and Slant Magazine, among others.[2]


VanDerWerff graduated from South Dakota State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Journalism. During her time, she wrote for the university's student newspaper, The Collegian.[3]


From 2009 to 2014, VanDerWerff was the TV editor for The A.V. Club, helping to build the TV Club, known for criticism and 'dissection' of television shows episode by episode. Vanderwerff's work has been credited with helping build the online culture of television recaps.[4]

In June 2014, VanDerWerff joined Vox as their culture editor,[5] going on to become the Critic at Large.[6] She is also involved in Arden, a true crime parody podcast,[7] as well as running Vox's Primetime, a television history podcast.[8]

She was a finalist in the 2015 Online Journalism Awards.[9]

In 2018, VanDerWerff and fellow critic Zach Handlen wrote Monsters of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files published by Tor Books.[10]

Personal Life

VanDerWerff came out as a transgender woman in 2019.[11] She was interviewed on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday about her experiences.[12] She is a founding member of the Trans Journalists Association and helped create its style guide, a resource for other journalists to more accurately write about transgender people and issues.[13]

She has been married to her wife, Libby, since 2003.[14]

Harper's Letter Controversy

In July 2020, she notably spoke out against fellow Vox columnist Matthew Yglesias, following his signing of a A Letter on Justice and Open Debate|controversial open letter published in Harper's Magazine, calling for an end to cancel culture.[15] VanDerWerff, along with other critics of the letter, argued it was insensitive and contained numerous Dog whistle (politics)|dog whistles antagonizing transgender people.[16] Following her criticism, she received death threats.[17]


  1. VanDerWerff, Emily (1 December 2018). "Of all the people I share a birthday with, I like to think I feel the strongest kinship with Mandy Patinkin". Twitter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. "Articles published by Emily VanDerWerff". Muckrack. 2020-09-10. Retrieved 2020-09-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Armour native writes TV reviews for Onion-related publication | The Daily Republic". 2019-06-24. Archived from the original on 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  4. Herman, Alison (2018-07-31). "Previously On: How Recaps Changed the Way We Watch Television". The Ringer. Retrieved 2020-09-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. Adams, Sam; Adams, Sam (2014-06-19). "A.V. Club Exodus Continues as Todd VanDerWerff Becomes Vox's First Culture Editor". IndieWire. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  6. "Emily VanDerWerff Profile and Activity - Vox". www.vox.com. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  7. ""My Story to Tell": Emily VanDerWerff on Nuance, Ambition, and Trans Storytelling". Wil Williams Reviews. 2019-06-04. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  8. "Primetime". www.vox.com. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  9. "Vox's Todd VanDerWerff's Cultural Criticism - Online Journalism Awards". 2019-06-24. Archived from the original on 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  10. "Re-open the X-Files with Monsters of the Week". Tor.Com. 2018-10-05. Retrieved 2020-09-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. VanDerWerff, Emily (2019-06-03). "On coming out as trans in Donald Trump's America". Vox. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  12. "'The Handmaid's Tale' And Coming Out As Transgender". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  13. Tameez, Hanaa (2020-07-01). "The Trans Journalists Association launches, with workplace advice and a style guide". Niemen Lab. Retrieved 2020-09-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. VanDerWerff, Emily (24 August 2020). "Twitter Thread". Twitter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. Sheets, Megan (2020-07-09). "Twitter feud breaks out among Vox staffers after editor joins JK Rowling and Margaret Atwood and signs an open letter condemning 'cancel culture'". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2020-09-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. Wulfsohn, Joseph (2020-07-08). "Tensions among Vox employees erupt on Twitter after journalist signs 'cancel culture' letter". Fox News. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  17. "Trans Writer Says She's Getting Death and Rape Threats Over Her Reaction to Harper's 'Free Speech' Letter". Mediaite. 2020-07-09. Retrieved 2020-09-15.

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