2 Ex-Pinterest Employees Say They Faced Racial Discrimination At Work

Two former employees in Pinterest's policy division say they faced discriminatory treatment on the basis of their race and gender. Pinterest denies the claims.
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Two former employees at Pinterest  (PINS) - Get Report said they faced discrimination at work, with one calling it a "racist and sexist" workplace. 

Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, both of whom worked in Pinterest's public policy division, posted on Twitter that they were compensated unfairly, retaliated against over disagreements on policy matters and faced disparaging comments on the basis of their race. 

Banks said that after recommending that Pinterest reverse a decision to cut contractor pay last year, she was penalized and interrogated by a private investigator hired by the company. 

Ozoma, formerly a manager at Pinterest's public policy and social impact group, called the company's recent statements of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement "a joke." 

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann published a blog post on June 2 expressing support of Black Lives Matter and announcing a number of efforts to promote diversity on Pinterest's platform and within the company. 

Ozoma said that in addition receiving unequal pay for a year at Pinterest, despite being highly credentialed, she was "doxxed" by a colleague who posted her personal information on a racist and misogynistic website. Pinterest's response to the harassment was "dangerously inadequate," she said in follow-up tweets. 

Ozoma added that she was retaliated against, receiving poor performance review feedback over a disagreement related to Pinterest's promotion of former Southern slave plantations as event venues. She advocated for restricting the promotion of plantations on Pinterest, a policy the company adopted late last year. 

Pinterest was not immediately available for comment on the claims, but told AdWeek in a statement that it "conducted a thorough investigation when [the claims] were raised, and we’re confident both employees were treated fairly." 

Both Ozoma and Banks left the company in May. 

Pinterest shares rose 4% on Tuesday to $21.99, and have risen 17% year to date.