Uber has placed its longtime head of diversity, equity and inclusion on leave after workers complained that an employee event she moderated, titled “Don’t Call Me Karen,” was insensitive to people of color.
Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, and Nikki Krishnamurthy, the chief people officer, last week asked Bo Young Lee, the head of diversity, “to step back and take a leave of absence while we determine next steps,” according to an email on Thursday from Ms. Krishnamurthy to some employees that was viewed by The New York Times.
“We have heard that many of you are in pain and upset by yesterday’s Moving Forward session,” the email said. “While it was meant to be a dialogue, it’s obvious that those who attended did not feel heard.”
Employees’ concerns centered on a pair of events, one last month and another last Wednesday, that were billed as “diving into the spectrum of the American white woman’s experience” and hearing from white women who work at Uber, with a focus on “the ‘Karen’ persona.” They were intended to be an “open and honest conversation about race,” according to the invitation.