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IPFS News Link • Business/ Commerce

Taibbi: Is Slack Destroying American Companies? Q&A With Antonio Garcia-Martinez

•, by Matt Taibbi

I wrote Friday about the specific hypocrisy of Apple's move — the company has the author of Bitches Ain't Shit on its board but claimed it fired Garcia-Martinez as a statement of its devotion to "inclusivity" — but over the weekend spoke to Antonio about the larger issue of his case, which extends past his own predicament.

"This business of Slack at work," he said.

After George Floyd's death last summer, corporate leaders found themselves in an unusual position. With water-cooler conversations turbo-charged by chat programs like Slack, many firms saw outpourings of anger. Employees demanded their employers do something, or at least be seen doing something, to "confront racism."

In some shops, employers were asked to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday. In others, there was a demand for more diverse hiring procedures. Significant donations to political organizations, scholarship funds, or product lines targeted to African-Americans were expected.

Responses became more idiosyncratic. Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens pledged to stop putting "multicultural cosmetic products" behind locked cases in retail outlets. YouTube deleted 100,000 videos and 100 million comments as part of an expanded hate speech policy. HBO Max took down Gone With the Wind, then restored it with a disclaimer that it showed "ethnic and racial prejudices" that "were wrong then and are wrong today." Disney later did something similar with The Muppet Show, Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Swiss Family Robinson.

In some places, the connections between the companies' core businesses and structural racism were apparent. For instance, many of the banks that made the most ostentatious pledges of support for Black Lives Matter were the same firms that targeted black communities with exotic subprime mortgage products, Wells Fargo's "ghetto loans" episode being among the more infamous.