Pinterest Responds to Discrimination Claims by Appointing its First Black Board Member
Photo Credit: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images

Pinterest Responds to Discrimination Claims by Appointing its First Black Board Member

Image sharing and social media platform, Pinterest, appointed Andrea Wishom to their Board of Directors, making her the first Black person ever appointed to the company’s board.

The move to appoint Wishom, who serves as president at Skywalker Holdings, comes after Pinterest received allegations of racism and poor pay by former employees back in June and July of this year.

After the social media platform claimed to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, Ifeoma Ozoma, Aerica Shimizu Banks, and other unidentified individuals told Washington Post that they had been mistreated by their white peers.

The allegations were followed by a campaign that called for Pinterest to increase pay for Black employees. A website and arranged walkout emerged to support Ozoma and Banks.

Ben Silbermann, the company’s CEO and co-founder, guaranteed that a person of color would soon be hired and that his company “needs to be better.” He followed through on his promise and says that Wishom is “a passionate advocate for building a company culture of respect, integrity, inclusion, and support.”

“Part of meeting this moment is looking outside the expected and bringing different perspectives to the table,” Wishom said in a press release. “There are real challenges to address, and that responsibility is not lost on me. I’m committed to listening and sharing my perspective and providing guidance as Pinterest continues to make positive strides forward.”

Once Ozoma learned of the company’s latest decision, she expressed that she’s not moved by the company’s response.

“Pinterest is doing what many organizations steeped in the practices of white supremacy do – distracting from the issues at hand,” she tweeted. “Instead of apologizing/paying us equitably for our work, they’ve said ‘We added one of *you* to our board, so be grateful.’”

Ozoma not only urged the company to “remove the ‘leaders’ who discriminated and retaliated against us, but who are still gainfully employed.”

“We are not grateful for the performative gestures,” she tweeted. “we, and the many employees who protested on Friday, demand real action. Make me, @erikashimizu and @FrancoiseBr whole. Pay us for the value we brought to @Pinterest. THEN work on addressing the toxic culture.

Just last week former chief operating officer, Francoise Brougher accused the company of a hostile working environment that silences female executives and filed a lawsuit for gender discrimination.

Brougher’s allegations were followed by a 4,000-word blog post that detailed her accusations. Pinterest employees responded and organized a virtual protest against both alleged gender and racial discrimination.

While we want to congratulate the company’s first Black board member, we’d hope the move was not performative and that Pinterest is truly making effort toward being a better company.