LinkedIn CEO apologises for employees ‘appalling’ comments during their virtual town hall

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LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky was only days into his new role when he apologised for his staff who made “appalling” comments during LinkedIn’s virtual town hall of over 9000 employees from across the world, which is something you would expect on a local Facebook group comment section.

The Microsoft-owned company hosted a virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday to talk about George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and the racial inequalities displayed by “reflecting on our own biases, practising allyship, and intentionally driving equitable actions.”

An employee described the Q&A portion of the town hall as a “dumpster fire,” while another called it an “epic fail.” Heartbreakingly, a fellow staff member who identified as black said the comments had “absolutely destroyed me.

The Daily Beast and The Verge reported that the comments questioned the protests and called out LinkedIn’s diversity hiring initiatives. Black employees only make up 3.5% of LinkedIn’s workforce.

“We are not and will not be a company or platform where racism or hateful speech is allowed.

“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 wrote in his letter to employees that was posted publicly. “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.”

“We — meaning every one of you — are responsible for the world’s largest professional community and social media platform,” Ryan wrote in his letter. “We have an incredible opportunity and obligation to channel our passion, energy and talent to address some of the very real barriers and systems that have enabled racism to prevail.”

“Proud of Ryan”, Jeff Weiner Responds

There’s the culture and values painted on a company’s walls and distributed via laminated cards, and then there’s the real stuff; the first principles that an organization actually manifests and upholds through both good times and bad. It’s in the latter category, through the most challenging of times, that teams are tested and understand who they really are and who they aspire to be. This is one of those moments. Proud of Ryan and the team for handling this so openly, honestly and constructively.

Jeff Weiner