- Cisco said it fired some employees for "inappropriate conduct" after they submitted anti-Black Lives Matter posts in the comment section of virtual all-hands meetings, according to a new Bloomberg report.
- "Black lives don't matter. All lives matter," one employee wrote, according to screenshots shared with Bloomberg.
- The report comes as Silicon Valley's biggest firms struggle to diversify their workforces, which have long consisted of mostly white employees.
- That call-to-action has only been amplified by the police killing of George Floyd and the worldwide protests that followed.
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Some Cisco employees have been fired after making comments objecting to the company's support for the Black Lives Matter movement, according to a Bloomberg report.
A videoconference on June 1 featured Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, along with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker and the lawyer and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson, both of whom are Black, in a discussion about race following the police killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. Robbins also announced that the company would donate $5 million to anti-racism organizations. The conversation, which was held with 30,000 employees watching, spilled over into a number of virtual all-hands meetings.
Some employees, whose identities were not disclosed, posted in the comment sections of the online meetings expressing sentiment in opposition to Black Lives Matter and the company's support of the movement.
"Black lives don't matter. All lives matter," one employee wrote, per screenshots shared with Bloomberg. Another wrote that the phrase "Black Lives Matter" perpetuates racism. And yet another said, "people who complain about racism probably have been a racist somewhere else to people from another race or part of systematic oppression in their own community," according to the outlet.
Per the report, company execs were startled by the comments posted by employees, and Black employees at the company were especially appalled. Some of the commenters later apologized for their publicly-posted statements while others rebuked Cisco for not allowing those who disagreed with the Black Lives Matter movement to have a voice.
Cisco said it fired a handful of the employees who posted such comments, according to Bloomberg, stating that the company "will not tolerate" racism.
In the months following Floyd's death, a renewed sense of urgency has fueled the Black Lives Matter movement, calling upon high-profile companies across various sectors to take a stance. Bloomberg's report comes as Silicon Valley continues to grapple with a glaring and long-standing diversity problem.
Per a 2019 company diversity report, 3.8% of all US employees at Cisco were Black, as Bloomberg notes. About half of Cisco's top brass are women, and almost 40% are minorities. The US Census Bureau estimates that African-Americans are 13.4% of the total US population as of July 2019.