Yesterday, US-based major crypto exchange Coinbase warned of a scathing report in The New York Times, and, today, the major news outlet published the article, stating that 15 former Coinbase employees who have either quit or were fired from the company have one thing in common — they were all Black.
Coinbase employs 600 people, 3% of whom are Black, according to the Times report. Nearly a dozen of the aforementioned subset reportedly told the human resources department that they had suffered “racist or discriminatory treatment,” the report said, citing five undisclosed people with knowledge of the situation. The Times story also features Coinbase’s reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, which reportedly left employees feeling “disappointed” by the silence of CEO Brian Armstrong.
Armstrong is on the defense, calling any allegations of discrimination “false.” Coinbase claims that “only three” people out of the 11 mentioned in the article actually filed official complaints during their tenures. One of them was Layllen Sawyerr, who is Black and who quit Coinbase in 2018. Sawyerr told the Times,
“It was the first time I realized what racism felt like in the modern world. I felt like I was being bullied every day at work.”
Coinbase reportedly determined that Sawyerr’s complaint was “unsubstantiated.”
Also among the complaints documented in the NYT article, former recruiter at the company, Alysa Butler, stated that she was made to feel “invisible” and left out from important discussions, claims that she says she made clear to her manager.
“Most people of color working in tech know that there’s a diversity problem. But I’ve never experienced anything like Coinbase,” Butler, who resigned from the company in April 2019, told the Times.
Coinbase reportedly told the Times that it has no record of Ms. Butler’s official complaint.
The exchange went on to say that the complaints that were filed were “thoroughly investigated” both through an internal probe and by outside parties, the result of which was “no evidence of wrongdoing.” As a result, Coinbase said it made it clear to the NYT that the claims “were unsubstantiated.”
Overall, Coinbase appears to be taking the bad press on the chin, maintaining that they “take all allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior seriously” and that they “do not tolerate harassment or discrimination.” And considering all the attention that bitcoin (BTC) has been getting lately, the Coinbase management team is also predicting that as the company grows, there will be “more, not less, media coverage,” of both the positive and negative sort.
“As Brian shared with the ColorBlock ERG this morning, we don’t care what The New York Times thinks. The most important thing we care about is you, our employees, and what you think,” the company said.
Coinbase declined to comment any further when contacted by Our..
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