San Francisco-based powerhouse company Dropbox has come under fire for a Tweet it posted on Wednesday meant to highlight the “diversity” of its staff.
The Tweet featured a picture of the company’s leadership and its co-founders alongside the caption “Diversity and Dropbox,” with a link to an article detailing the tech company’s effort to build an inclusive workforce.
However, this virtue-signaling did not sit well with a sub-section of Twitter users, who quickly pointed to the notable absence of people of color in a picture supposed to epitomize “diversity.”
The reaction was swift, as people responded to the post with a deluge of derisive memes. One user even suggested that Dropbox fire their marketing team.
— El Rey (@TheBisut) December 14, 2016
— Gabe Bergado (@gabebergado) December 14, 2016
— DigitalBridget (@BridgetMarie) December 14, 2016
The company had previously been put to shame by a former African American employee, Angelica Coleman, who vocally denounced the discrimination and hurdles she claimed she had faced while working at the company in a post widely shared on Facebook.
Explaining why she left the company, she wrote:
“After spending months apologizing for being me, and after a white manager sat me down, looked me in the eye and told me, ‘If you ever want to be anything other than an admin, you need to go somewhere else,’ I said fuck it.”
I left Dropbox because as a black woman working on bettering myself, the tech industry doesn’t give a shit.
So while all the white CEOs sit and ponder, ‘how can we appeal to more diverse people?’ maybe you should really be asking ‘what am I doing for the current black employees to ensure they’re happy?'”
But following the barrage of criticism on Wednesday, other Twitter users reminded faultfinders that the definition of diversity extends beyond considerations of race.
@JasonOGrady taken from google:
showing a great deal of variety; very different.
Doesn't say anything about race.
— CornOnTheRob (@C0rn0nTheRob) December 14, 2016
— Dante Colburn (@DanteColburn) December 15, 2016
If Dropbox’s 2016 diversity report showed gains for the company, it is also honest about their progress. “Though we’ve made progress in hiring minorities this year, the numbers aren’t where we want them to be.” the report said.
The company’s representation of women increased by one percentage point to 33 percent in 2016, including a 6 percentage point increase of women in leadership positions. As for ethnic diversity, although its numbers remaining small, Dropbox also made headway: its representation of black employees went from 2 percent a year ago to 3 percent in 2016.
Fighting off critics, Dropbox later explained that the “diversity” tweet was meant to highlight their successful increase of women in leadership roles but didn’t fully represent “the diverse workforce we strive for at Dropbox.”
Our photo doesn’t fully represent the diverse workforce we strive for at Dropbox. Improving our diversity continues to be a top priority. pic.twitter.com/bxsMi9pwYc
— Dropbox (@Dropbox) December 14, 2016
“Improving our diversity continues to be one of our top priorities in 2017 and beyond” the company said.
Alongside Dropbox’s co founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, who is Iranian, the photo featured openly gay Head of People Arden Hoffman and Lin-Hua Wu, vice president of communications, who is Asian.