Marc Benioff, Co-Founder and CEO of Salesforce.com Inc., speaks during the WSJDLive Global Technology Conference on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, in Laguna Beach, California, United States. The conference brings together an unmatched group of top members CEOs, founders, pioneers, investors and greats to explore technical opportunities that are emerging around the world.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Salesforce has previously said black lives matter, but a message posted on the software company’s LinkedIn account last Friday expressed sentiment over racial equality more than usual.
“Hi everyone, we just want you to know what’s going on while CPAC is running, BLACK LIVES STILL F —– G MATTER. PEACE,” said a post on Salesforce account that has more than 2 million followers . (Last week Conservatives gathered in Florida to attend the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.) The post has since been deleted.
The incident highlights the challenges faced by minorities within Salesforce and other technology companies that have tried to increase diversity.
“Last Friday, we became aware of unauthorized access to one of our social media accounts. We took quick action and secured it,” a Salesforce spokesman told CNBC on Wednesday in an email. The spokesman did not comment on the content of the LinkedIn post, but referred to a blog post from February, in which the status of the diversity efforts was presented.
According to the company’s diversity reports, 3.4% of Salesforce employees in the US were black as of November, up from 2.8% in November 2018. According to an estimate by the US Census Bureau based on the American Community Survey, black people People made up 12.8% of the US population in 2019.
In the past few weeks, two black people have reached out to discuss their problems with Salesforce. Cynthia Perry, a senior manager in design research, said in the resignation letter she posted on LinkedIn that as a Salesforce employee she was “gas lit, manipulated, bullied, neglected and largely unsupported”.
Vivianne Castillo, who worked as a design research and innovation manager, also posted her resignation letter on LinkedIn, saying she was regularly asked to help with internal diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for free in addition to her work.
Castillo alluded to miners sending canaries into coal mines to check for safety hazards before entering. “I’m sick of seeing the canaries of under-represented minorities leave Salesforce only to see Salesforce step up their efforts to throw more canaries into the culture, causing the previous ones to leave, or worse – suffer in silence.”
After protests against the murder of George Floyd in police custody, Salesforce hoped in July to increase the number of black employees in the US by 50% by the end of 2023.
Other companies are also looking to hire more black workers, although not every effort is a huge success. CNBC reported last month on issues black college students had encountered while going through Google’s Howard West program, including discriminatory treatment by Google employees with fewer attendees than planned.
After Salesforce’s LinkedIn account posted the news on Friday, hundreds responded with thumbs up and hearts, and some users left comments.
“Ohanaaaaa,” wrote one Salesforce rep, using the Hawaiian word for family that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff uses on a regular basis. “Yes! You are with us,” replied the Salesforce account. (In 2018, Bloomberg reported that some Salesforce employees had voiced the company had abused Hawaiian words and culture.)
“Language,” wrote another Salesforce rep in response to the original post.
“I’m Salesforce, b —-” the company account replied.
“You’re not,” the clerk wrote back. “Your language shows this.”
– Salvador Rodriguez contributed to this report.
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