Happy Pride Month! You’re Fired!
The key to inclusivity is the authenticity of the engagement. It’s not a good look to make a big deal celebrating Pride Month in June and then fire a transgender employee for their activism in October. But that’s just what Netflix did in 2021.
During Pride Month 2020, a program manager at Netflix, B. Pagels-Minor, “shared a piece called “Black Trans Lives Matter” on [their] personal blog and with the internal Netflix community.” By October 2021, they were terminated from Netflix for protesting the Netflix distributed Dave Chappelle comedy special that, in part, disrespected the transgender community. Pagels-Minor says that Netflix did not consult the Trans*Employee Resource Group for assistance minimizing the harm the release would cause to the community. After raising concerns and organizing a walk-out, they were fired.
What lessons can you learn as your company recognizes cultural celebrations like Pride Month and Juneteenth?
Your Customers Are Watching
Your customers will not only remember whether or not you mentioned a cultural celebration but your actions towards those groups after the cultural celebration is over. Social media was quick to point out the juxtaposition of Netflix’s Pride celebration in June and the firing of a transgender employee in October. It is important to live your inclusive values every day, and not just the days dedicated to a particular cultural celebration.
Mark cultural celebrations in a way that is authentic to your organization. If your company has written a diversity statement, a cultural celebration is a great way to remind your employees and customers of your DEI values. You can also highlight some of the advances you have made to respond to respective communities during their cultural celebration.
For more information on board governance and organizational diversity, follow along on Twitter or Instagram. Nikki McCord is the founder of McCord Consulting Group, the only choice for organizations looking to energize, innovate, and diversify their boards and organizations.