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Twitter Exec told AsAm Employee She Could Pass as White if She Wore Sunglasses, Report Says

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Twitter executive Dantley Davis once told an Asian American employee she could pass as white if she wore sunglasses during a conversation about diversity, The New York Times reports.

Davis joined Twitter as head of design in 2019. He wanted to change Twitter’s too-nice culture and make the company more diverse, Business Insider reports.

The New York Times spoke to several employees who said he instead created a culture of fear and stress.

At one meeting, Twitter’s then-head of research, Liz Ferrall-Nunge, expressed her concerns about diversity and spoke about her experience as a woman of color. Three employees say Davis told Ferall-Nunge, who is Asian American, she could pass as white if she wore sunglasses.

Some employees say that Davis also quickly criticized, demoted and cut workers during his first few months on the job. Other employees, however, told The New York Times that white executives have received less criticism while doing less for diversity.

Twitter launched an investigation into Davis’ workplace behavior in 2019. During the summer of 2020, Davis received death threats from Twitter users who believed he was kicking them off of Twitter for offensive comments.

“I would get a death threat at 12 o’clock, and then at 12:05 I would have a meeting,” Davis told The New York Times.

Another investigation was launched in early 2021 after complaints that the culture of fear persisted. Davis released a statement with his team saying he would be taking a step back to reflect.

“I’ve been hearing and absorbing feedback about the culture and morale,” Davis wrote in a note shared with his management team that was seen by The Times. “I love and deeply respect this team, it’s the strongest team I’ve ever worked with, and yet it’s clear that many of you aren’t feeling that from me. I’m taking a step back to think about my style and approach.”

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