The company’s board of directors said Monday that a newly formed committee has hired the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a “comprehensive and independent review of our policies and practices concerning discrimination, harassment, and other workplace issues.”
“We heard directly from our Black employees about the pain and fear they feel every day living in America,” Silbermann wrote. “This is not just a moment in time. With everything we do, we will make it clear that our Black employees matter, Black [Pinterest users] and creators matter, and Black Lives Matter.”
That message rang false to Ozoma and Banks, who wrote on Twitter and told media outlets that Pinterest’s messaging about supporting black staffers doesn’t align with their experience at the company.
“So many women, especially black women, go through discrimination and are not safe to speak out,” Banks told CNN Business. “Someone has to take the risk to speak out to hold these companies accountable [so] that their statements are more than just that and actually lead to real change within their companies and the industry.”
While working at Pinterest, Ozoma said she endured several instances of racism, disrespect and discriminatory treatment by Pinterest coworkers, managers and human resource leaders. Both women accused the company of unfair pay practices and tweeted out their accounts of being belittled and harassed by co-workers.
In response to requests for comment about the women’s allegations, Pinterest said it had conducted a thorough investigation on the issues raised and concluded Ozoma and Banks were “treated fairly.”
“We want each and every one of our employees at Pinterest to feel welcomed, valued, and respected,” a Pinterest spokesperson said. “As we outlined in our statement on June 2nd, we’re committed to advancing our work in inclusion and diversity by taking action at our company and on our platform. In areas where we, as a company, fall short, we must and will do better.”
In his Monday announcement, Silbermann also noted that the company has increased its diversity recruitment efforts, “especially at senior levels,” since Ozoma and Banks’ went public with their allegations.
Silbermann said Pinterest also plans to increase diversity among the content creators, known as “Pinners,” it features on its site. He also said Pinterest will overhaul its unconscious bias and “Leading Inclusive Teams” trainings by the end of July.