CEO faces backlash after quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in announcing layoffs


Google slashes 12,000 jobs

Google slashes 12,000 jobs, as tech sector layoffs continue


The CEO of a tech company is sparking a backlash after quoting civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in an email that announced she was cutting 7% of its workforce. 

PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada wrote in a 1,700-word email that the digital operations management company was making a few other changes, including promoting some executives and trimming spending. Tejada’s email was also posted on the company’s website.

Toward the end of the announcement, she said that the moment reminded her of Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote that “the ultimate measure of a [leader] is not where [they] stand in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where [they] stand in times of challenge and controversy.” 

The missive sparked a backlash on social media, with observers calling the email “tone deaf” and “disgusting.” Tejada’s communication, which veers between grim corporate-speak such as calling the layoffs “refinements” and optimistic comments about the “deeply talented individuals who #BringThemselves” to work, comes after a string of tech layoffs that have been criticized as lacking compassion and humanity.

“All time classic bad layoff announcement: CEO of PagerDuty opens with “Hi Dutonians,” takes 370 words to get to the layoffs bit, continues for another *1250 words*, and ends with “I am reminded in moments like this, of something Martin Luther King said…” noted Tom Gara, a technology communications manager at Meta, in a tweet. 

Others said the email felt like it had been written by ChatGPT, and one critic described it as “hid[ing] the human toll behind a smokescreen of jargon and passive voice.”

PagerDuty didn’t immediately return a request for comment.



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