Uber Suspends Its Diversity Chief After 'Don't Call Me Karen' Session Elicits Outrage Head of diversity Bo Young Lee led a series of discussions about race and the experiences of underrepresented groups called "Moving Forward."

By Amanda Breen

Kimberly White | Getty Images

Uber's diversity chief is on leave from the company following employee backlash over an internal event she moderated, dubbed "Don't Call Me Karen."

Head of diversity Bo Young Lee, who was in charge of a series of discussions about race and the experiences of underrepresented groups called "Moving Forward," was asked to take a step back as the company figures out its next move, The New York Times reported.

Related: Uber Drivers: These Are the Worst Thing Passengers Do

Employee criticism stemmed from two events. Last month, a panel titled "Don't Call Me Karen" focused on the experiences of a few white women leaders and why the slang moniker "Karen" — which generally refers to white women with a sense of entitlement, often to the detriment of people of color — is a hurtful word.

Employees felt the conversation ignored the harm such people inflict on people of color; in the second event, a follow-up listening session last week where employees expected to have more of a dialogue, Lee apparently disregarded those concerns, according to The Times.

The controversy was a rare occasion of employee discord under Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who assumed the position in 2017 after a slew of PR nightmares for the company surrounding Uber's co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick. In 2019, Uber reached a $4.4 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over sexual discrimination charges, per CNN Business.

Related: Report: Uber, Lyft Drivers Face Suspensions, Discrimination

Per the Times, one employee felt Uber's decision to suspend Lee was the right one, writing, "[They've] heard us, they know we are hurting, and they want to understand what all happened too."

Wavy Line
Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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