LinkedIn’s CEO Ryan Roslansky apologized to staff after anonymous employees made “appalling comments” about racism and diversity during a company wide meeting.
“We are not and will not be a company or platform where racism or hateful speech is allowed,” Roslansky wrote in an email to staff that was also posted on LinkedIn.
The company held a virtual global town hall to address the nationwide social unrest sparked by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. The meeting was billed as an event to discuss racial inequality by “reflecting on our own biases, practicing allyship, and intentionally driving equitable actions.”
Tim Pool covered the story on his YouTube channel, check that out at the bottom.
The Daily Beast called the meeting a “dumpster fire” and a disaster.
Several anonymous staffers shared opinions during the videochat, targeting the media bias, white guilt and LinkedIn’s position on diversity hiring, equating such practices with racism against white people.
“As a non-minority, all this talk makes me feel like I am supposed to feel guilty of my skin color. I feel like I should let someone less qualified fill my position. Is that ok? It appears that I am a prisoner of my birth,” one commenter wrote. “This is not what Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted for anyone.”
“I believe giving any racial group privilege over others in a zero sum game would not get any support by others. Any thoughts on hurting others while giving privileges with the rosy name called diversity?” read another employee comment.
“George’s killers need to be tried according to law. But how can hiring more minorities into manager roles and C-suite positions address cop racism? I thought hiring at LinkedIn is based on merit alone.”
NOTE: LinkedIn has just 3.5% black employees with 5.9% Latino compared to a white (47.5%) and Asian (40.3%) employees.
“Blacks kill blacks at 50 times the rate that whites kill blacks. Usually it is the result of gang violence in the inner city. Where is the outcry?” one commenter said, echoing a common anti-BLM talking point deflecting from concerns about state violence against the black community.
“This tragic incident that happened to George Floyd happened exactly the same to Tony Timpa (white man) by Dallas cops in 2016, and no one seemed to care then,” another employee wrote.There were no out cry for justice in his case. Why? Should we not want justice for all?”
“Do we all understand that racial prejudice is about EVERYONE and can go any direction?” wrote another. “Racial prejudice is rampant in tech companies. As a white person, I’ve experienced it from people of other races too.”
“I do not feel safe working at this company in a place where I was already uncomfortable with the treatment I’ve received on my OWN team since I started,” wrote one employee. “This is so sad.”
“There are some extremely offensive comments here that go completely against the spirit of what this is intended for,” another added. “I am COMPLETELY shocked by some of these racist comments from my fellow employees. I am thoroughly disgusted!”
“The racism at LinkedIn really came out in the Q&A section!” a third staffer quipped.
How did LinkedIn respond…by taking away the privacy in future meetings.
“We require members on our platform to have real identities and we will not allow anonymous questions in all hands meetings in the future,” Roslansky said. “I said it in the Company Group yesterday, and I will say it again, we are not and will not be a company or platform where racism or hateful speech is allowed.”
Roslansky added: “By raising voices, democratizing access to learning and jobs, and tackling the systems of economic injustice, we can and will make meaningful change. For any of this to happen, we have to start with our culture and commit to working through hard things together. We have to anchor on our values, including having open, honest and constructive conversations and respecting that relationships matter.”