Cisco fires employees for comments made during virtual diversity conference

Cisco Systems Inc. has fired a number of workers over racial comments made during a virtual all-hands conference on race and diversity last month.

Precisely how many employees were dismissed or when they were let go is unclear. Bloomberg reports that San Jose-based Cisco confirmed it fired a “handful” of employees. Bloomberg said it will not name those employees because it could not confirm their identities.

According to screenshots obtained by Bloomberg, the posts made by the fired employees included “Black lives don’t matter. All lives matter,” and “People who complain about racism probably have been a racist somewhere else to people from another race or part of systematic oppression in their own community!” Another comment stated that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” singles out one ethnic group and thus “reinforces racism.”

The remarks were made during a June 1 videoconference that followed the killing of George Floyd while he was in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. In that meeting — the first in a series — Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins spoke with Bryan Stevenson, a Black lawyer and author who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, and Darren Walker, who is also Black and is president of the Ford Foundation. […]

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