Tensions Flare Inside NPR After Staff Layoffs and Town Halls
But the already tense environment boiled over during an exchange between CEO Lansing and a laid-off Black employee.
This person also listed executives’ names and repeated statements they had made in the past, asking for more accountability.
After replying, [Lansing] then added that the group needed to “turn down the rhetoric” and not call executives out by name in an all-hands with hundreds of attendees.
Some employees interpreted this as tone-policing and felt uncomfortable.
A few questions later someone referenced the earlier exchange and asked how attendees could be as specific as possible without using people’s names. Lansing re-committed to his answer and said that the conversation should have been more civil, which some employees interpreted as a direct attack on the earlier employee.
They immediately took to Zoom and called Lansing’s response “racist”
and out-of-line. Another staff member dropped a link to a segment
from NPR’s Code Switch
titled, “When Civility Is Used As A Cudgel Against People Of Color.”
“Civility is a weapon wielded by the powerful,” one person wrote, according to screenshots of the chat viewed by Bloomberg.
“This meeting has made me more afraid for the future of public media than any conversation I have had in a very long time,” wrote another.