Update to “When the Mask Comes Off”
I find it hard to believe I wrote the post “The Mask Comes Off: Corporate Implications When Your Senior Recruiter is a Bigot” over a month ago. There are a few relevant developments since then.
About the Corporate Implications of Having a Bigot as a Recruiter
In discussing the corporate implications of having a bigot on staff as a senior recruiter, I raised circumstances in which the organization may be aware of racist and sexist behavior, chooses to do nothing about it, and is essentially complicit in the behavior. A colleague who is familiar with the organization and the individual pointed out to me after I posted the article that among the bigot’s followers is his employer. While I expect the organization has tasked a junior staff member to maintain their social media account, it nonetheless makes it harder to argue that the organization was unaware of the behavior. That is, it strengthens the case that they are complicit in the bigotry. The organization employs so many people I respect and admire; that they are willing to allow this behavior by one of their senior HR staff is massively disappointing to me.
About Milo Yiannopoulus: His Latest Target and His Suspension from Twitter
I posted my exchange with the corporate bigot on July 19, and talked about the hateful influence of alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulus. Yiannopoulus incites harassment of women, people of color, and other vulnerable individuals. On July 18, the alt-right had attacked a new target, Leslie Jones. A comedienne, Jones was one of four stars in the recent all-female remake of Ghostbusters. She is also the only black woman among the four. Yiannopoulus and his associates targeted her on twitter with vile sexist and racist abuse. All because she was funny in a movie they didn’t like. Surprisingly, in this case, the abuse got the attention of Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, who acknowledged the abuse was unacceptable and publicly committed to “do better”. Less than a day later, Twitter had suspended Yiannopoulus’ account, citing him specifically for violating Twitter’s rules prohibiting participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals.
Suspending Yiannopoulus was a step in the right direction from Twitter, but unfortunately the alt-right now blame the target of their abuse, Leslie Jones, for his banishment. They stepped up the attack – hacking her website, doxxing her by publicly posting her passport and driver’s license, posting nude photos, and posting racist content. The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the hack. One or more arrests as a result of the abuse would be welcome and reassuring, but the continuation and escalation of bigotry and hatred is discouraging.
Donald Trump and The Alt-Right
Milo Yiannopoulus works for Breitbart. With his candidacy failing, Donald Trump has reached out to Steve Bannon, head of Breitbart Media, to take over leadership of his campaign. When Sarah Posner of Mother Jones interviewed Bannon at the Republican National Convention in July, he told her “We’re the platform for the alt-right”. With this move, Trump is giving hatefulness and bigotry an unprecedented platform. For anyone who has observed what Yiannopoulus and his cohort have done for the last two years, the prospect of having people who feel as he does so close to the Presidency, to accessing classified, and to records of personal information on a massive scale – is terrifying.