TikTok has made a public show of supporting and celebrating Black creators over the years. But now a couple of employees say that message doesn’t carry over to the workplace. Here’s what’s happening.
Supporting the Cause
In the wake of the George Floyd murder in 2020, TikTok publicly pledged their support for Black creators and for the broader Black community.
Black Creators Important for TikTok
And it’s no secret that Black creators are some of the most respected and results-producing contributors to the online video platform.
Forefront of Innovation
In fact, TikTok has said as much on multiple occasions.
In January of 2023, for example, the company released a statement that read, in part, “Black creators inspire mainstream culture and continue to define what’s next…they have always been at the forefront of innovation.”
A Hostile Workplace?
But despite that public display of support, the work environment may not be quite so nurturing for Black employees.
In fact, according to two recently-fired Black employees, the TikTok workplace is downright hostile.
Not a Positive Experience
According to Joël Carter, who worked for TikTok in Austin, Texas, his experience with the company was anything but uplifting.
Nothing but Roadblocks
Starting with an interview process that he described as “dehumanizing” and “demoralizing,” Carter said he faced roadblocks and hostility all through his two-plus years working at TikTok.
He Was Underpaid
After a transfer to a new department a few months after he started, Carter found out he was making a lot less money than his colleagues.
Stealing His Ideas
And then his manager started to gaslight him, excluding him from important meetings so he also missed out on vital information.
That manager also took credit for Carter’s work and ideas.
Not a Door-Slammer
It all culminated in an effort to make him look like an “angry Black man” in the eyes of the company, Carter says.
There were even allegations that Carter slammed doors at the office, which he says is untrue.
She Wanted to Be Part of It
In the meantime, one of the big reasons Nnete Matima wanted to join TikTok in the first place was precisely because of that supportive image they cultivated in the mainstream media.
Not All Roses
But it didn’t take long for Matima to realize that everything was definitely not roses once she started working for ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.
Not a Fun Place
Matima says that her workplace in New York City was toxic and riddled with racism.
The Boss Called Her a Snake
The most obvious examples were perpetrated by Matima’s own boss, who called her a “black snake” to other employees.
That same boss also set work expectations for her that were much heftier than those her colleagues had to meet.
HR Made It Worse
Matima went to HR, but she says the mistreatment and racist attitudes only got worse in the aftermath.
A Stellar Employee Gone
Both Carter and Matima were let go from their positions in August even though in Carter’s case, at least, he consistently scored high on employee reviews.
They Banded Together
In response to the shoddy treatment they received working at TikTok and unable to gain any traction with their complaints, Carter and Matima decided to work together.
In mid-September, the two former employees filed a formal complaint against TikTok with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
A Pattern of Retaliation
According to the class-action complaint, the duo wants the “EEOC to investigate TikTok’s pattern or practice of retaliation against workers who complain about discrimination.”
They Take This Seriously
TikTok issued its own statement in response, saying they take employee relations and complaints very seriously.
They also reinforced their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
She Wants to Empower Others
But the legal wrangling may just be getting started.
Part of Matima’s goal, she said, is to help other TikTok employees feel like they have the power to speak out against discrimination, too.
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The post TikTok’s Workplace Is a Racist Dystopian NIGHTMARE, Say Former Black Employees first appeared on Career Step Up.
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