Like most companies, LinkedIn is taking this time to finally reflect on racial biases.
LinkedIn opted to hold an internal town hall to address the protests and related feelings — and it didn’t go well.
“We’ll spend most of our time together in open discussion, so please consider bringing questions or experiences you’d like to share,” read the email invitation that staff received.
The problem, however, is that the meeting was held via video chat where staff members were able to leave anonymous comments during the dialogue.
The comments ended up being a “dumpster fire” of racist remarks…and now the company is apologizing.
“Blacks kill blacks at 50 times the rate that whites kill blacks,” one commenter said during the forum. “Usually it is the result of gang violence in the inner city. Where is the outcry?”
Another decided to equate Floyd’s death with a white man who was murdered at the hands of the police as well.
“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 was no outcry for justice in his case. Why? Should we not want justice for all?”
Another commentator stated: “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. This is not what Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted for anyone.”
A dumpster fire, indeed.
The CEO of LinkedIn Ryan Roslansky addressed the failed attempt in an email to staff that was also posted on the site apologizing.
“I have also heard people share the pain and frustration they felt at appalling comments shared in the Q&A and chat, and so it’s important that I weigh in directly,” Ryan wrote. “Those of us in presenter mode weren’t able to track the comments in real-time – I am very sorry and that won’t happen again. Also, we offered the ability to ask questions anonymously with the intention of creating a safe space for all.”
He continued, “Unfortunately, that made it possible to add offensive comments without accountability. We require members on our platform to have real identities and we will not allow anonymous questions in all-hands meetings in the future. 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.”
You can read his full email here.