More than half Coinbase's black employees complained about discrimination and about three quarters of them quit, reports the New York Times in a lengthy investigation of the company's chronic and pervasive racism. It is no surprise: CEO Brian Armstrong signaled it during this summer's George Floyd protests with a blog post ordering employees "to leave concerns for issues like racial justice at the door" or leave, which doubtless led to the journalistic scrutiny he now enjoys.
One Black employee said her manager suggested in front of colleagues that she was dealing drugs and carrying a gun, trading on racist stereotypes. Another said a co-worker at a recruiting meeting broadly described Black employees as less capable. Still another said managers spoke down to her and her Black colleagues, adding that they were passed over for promotions in favor of less experienced white employees. The accumulation of incidents, they said, led to the wave of departures. "It was the first time I realized what racism felt like in the modern world," said Layllen Sawyerr, a compliance analyst who is Black. "I felt like I was being bullied every day at work."
A few days ago, Coinbase published another post trying to pre-empt the NYT's article by claiming it would be inaccurate—while having no idea at all of the scope and depth of what was coming.
For example: it thought the Times would have three sources for its story. But it has twenty-three, including exfiltrated documents and recordings.
I remember reading, at the time of his original post, that Armstrong telling employees to shut up about racism was "stupid in ways that aren't immediately obvious". And now here we are.