Among the various social media actions stemming from the #BlackLivesMatter protests earlier this year, one of the more surprising saw Pinterest come under fire over its internal culture, and its treatment of Black employees specifically.
Back in June, two former Pinterest employees publicly criticized the company, and detailed their experiences, as employees of color, working for the platform.
In response to Pinterest making a statement in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, former employee Ifeoma Ozoma outlined the way that she was treated on the basis of race within the company, and how she felt compelled to keep it quiet in the interests of professionalism.
I am SO proud of the initiatives I led in my time there – addressing health misinfo decisively is no longer novel thanks to that work. I just wish it wasn’t sullied by the racism, gaslighting, & disrespect from my manager, skip level, and the company’s legal & HR leadership. 7/
— Ifeoma Ozoma (@IfeomaOzoma) June 15, 2020
Pinterest had long been seen as a leader on this front, via various, public-facing diversity initiatives. But now, it was forced to confront its own challenges, which shined a spotlight on issues that CEO Ben Silbermann seemed genuinely shocked by, describing Ozoma’s experiences as ‘devastating’.
That then prompted Pinterest to undertake a significant reassessment of its internal approach, and this week, Pinterest has announced the next phase of this, working with the NAACP to establish a new advisory council to guide its internal policy direction.
As explained by Pinterest:
“As part of an ongoing commitment to create a safe and equitable workplace, Pinterest announced today the formation of a new Inclusion Advisory Council in partnership with the NAACP. This external council will bring influential voices together to guide the company on its journey to foster a culture where all can thrive and are valued for their unique perspectives.”
The council will provide independent advice on Pinterest’s diversity initiatives, and will help guide broader policy approaches in line with community concerns.
“The Inclusion Advisory Council will meet regularly with a dedicated group of Pinterest’s leadership team – including CEO Ben Silbermann and Tyi McCray, Pinterest’s Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity – to review progress against diversity goals, make recommendations to further promote the creation of inclusive features and content, and provide guidance centered on company culture.”
This is a significant step – as we’ve seen this year, we still have a long way to in addressing racial inequality, and even for those who feel that the issues are lessening over time, it’s clear that, for the people experiencing such, many barriers still remain.
Pinterest was forced to re-examine its entire approach, in order to address these key concerns, and as a result, it’s now looking to evolve and work with relevant advisors and organizations to listen, and hear the key concerns, and develop better approaches in-step.
It’s good to see Pinterest continuing its work on this front, which will hopefully result in a better, more inclusive approach from the company.
You can read more about Pinterest’s latest diversity initiatives here.