The CEO of the San Francisco-based Big Tech communications giant Twilio has notified his employees that they might receive an email telling them they are out of a job, but at least they know the layoffs were executed “through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens.”
“Over the years, we’ve made lots of changes to the way Twilio operates and is organized, but none harder than what I’m sharing today,” Twilio CEO and co-founder Jeff Lawson wrote to his staff in a company blog. “We’ve made the extremely difficult decision to restructure and reduce Twilio’s workforce by approximately 11% – teammates and friends who helped build Twilio.”
“I’m not going to sugarcoat things,” Lawson continued. “A layoff is the last thing we want to do, but I believe it’s wise and necessary.”
“Twilio has grown at an astonishing rate over the past couple years,” he explained. “It was too fast, and without enough focus on our most important company priorities. I take responsibility for those decisions, as well as the difficult decision to do this layoff.”
At Twilio, we believe #BlackLivesMatter. We hold that statement true as we commit to becoming an anti-racist company. Details here → https://t.co/ubsXubLCPt pic.twitter.com/wDR5g1lhRm
— twilio (@twilio) February 1, 2021
Lawson told his employees that “impacted Twilions will get an email within the next 60 minutes.”
Pointing to profitability and customer engagement as the company’s top goals, Lawson detailed “four priorities for reaching profitability and leading in customer engagement: Investing in our platform reliability and trust, increasing the profitability of messaging, accelerating Segment adoption, and scaling the Flex customer base.”
“Today’s layoffs are about aligning our investments more squarely with our priorities, as well as running our company more efficiently overall,” the CEO wrote.
With those priorities in mind, Lawson said the process of deciding which roles would be impacted was “tremendously difficult.”
“For those impacted today, we applied a rigorous selection process to examine which roles were most tightly aligned to our four priorities,” Lawson said. “Similarly, we looked at the size of the investments we’ve made and whether they are working for our company. We ultimately found that some investments no longer make sense and identified areas where we can be more efficient.”
And then the chief exec let slip which priorities were shaping the layoff selections.
“As you all know, we are committed to becoming an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression company,” Lawson signaled. “Layoffs like this can have a more pronounced impact on marginalized communities, so we were particularly focused on ensuring our layoffs – while a business necessity today – were carried out through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens.”
Part of honoring Black lives is addressing inequities and working to dismantle racist systems that the Black community faces daily. We actively utilize our product, our people, and our resources to support that systemic change.
— twilio (@twilio) February 1, 2021
In other words, says writer and filmmaker Christopher Rufo, the “tremendously difficult” decisions were, at least in part — though it is impossible to know how great a part — guided by Critical Race Theory (CRT).
“The white CEO of the tech firm Twilio just conducted layoffs ‘through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens,'” Rufo tweeted. “Critical race theory is eating through your HR department and deliberately penalizing whites, Asians, and men.”
The self-described activist called for a tsunami of lawsuits and urged “anyone who was laid off from Twilio” to contact attorneys David Pivtorak, who has gone after American Express for its divisive anti-racism policies, or Dhillon Law Group founder Harmeet Dhillon.
“It’s time to sue these companies into the ground,” Rufo stated.
Anyone who was laid off from Twilio should reach out to @piv4law and @pnjaban. It's time to sue these companies into the ground.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) September 15, 2022
Appearing with Fox News host Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle,” Rufo argued that CRT-inspired policies are something that is seen in a lot of Big Tech companies.
“They’re pretty explicit about it,” he said. “They aren’t even trying to hide it anymore. They’re deliberately penalizing whites, Asians, and men — all of whom are categorized as oppressors in Critical Race Theory. And so these are the first people to either be let go or they are the first people to get booted out of those employment lines because they are supposedly overrepresented in tech.”
"They're not even trying to hide it anymore. . .[CRT] is starting to eat through HR departments. . . it's textbook racial discrimination," @ManhattanInst's @realchrisrufo responds to @Twilio's announcement of race-based layoffs on @IngrahamAngle. pic.twitter.com/ALLhsWQBYa
— Michele Blood (@BloodBrief) September 15, 2022
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