Reeling from charges of racism and gender discrimination, Pinterest on Monday named a Black executive to its board of directors.
The appointment follows an employee walkout over a lawsuit brought by the former No. 2 executive at the company and allegations of mistreatment made by two former Black employees.
Former Harpo Studios executive Andrea Wishom is now the ninth member of the social media company’s board and the first Black director.
Pinterest’s reputation as a haven for women to scrapbook on the internet took a reputational hit in June when two former employees on its policy team went public with reports of unfair pay, racism and retaliation.
One of the former employees was Ifeoma Ozoma, who tweeted at the time that her experience at Pinterest was “sullied by the racism, gaslighting, and disrespect.”
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On Monday, Ozoma told USA TODAY that the company’s appointment of a Black executive to the board is “meaningless.”
“I hope that she is paid fairly, and not the way that I and other Black women at the company have not been paid fairly and have been dismissed,” Ozoma said. “One person is not diversity.”
Last week, Pinterest’s former chief operating officer Francoise Brougher sued the company alleging gender bias and wrongful termination. In the suit filed in California, Francoise Brougher says she was offered a “less favorable pay structure” than her male peers.
The series of mistreatment allegations sparked a workplace digital boycott on Friday.
Employees took part by signing a petition demanding an end to workplace bias and were asked to use their personal profile photos on Slack to stand in solidarity with former staffers who alleged mistreatment.
“Even when unintended, all forms of discrimination and retaliation at Pinterest must stop,” said the call to action, posted on a website that represents Pinterest employees.
Pinterest’s board of directors hired an outside team to investigate its workplace culture, finding that workers were treated fairly.
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As of 2018, the most recent data available, Pinterest employed 96 Hispanic and 64 Black workers out of a total workforce of 1,742. The percentage of Hispanic and Black employees – 5.5% and 3.7%, respectively – did not budge in a statistically significant way from 2017.
The numbers are a snapshot from an annual report compiled for the federal government that Pinterest released publicly in January at the request of USA TODAY.
According to the report, the company has it has one Hispanic woman in a senior management role and no African Americans.
Wishom serves as president at Skywalker Holdings, a real estate and hospitality company. She formerly held various production, programming and executive roles at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.
She grew up in San Francisco and earned her bachelor’s in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
“She’s an expert in creating positive and inspirational content for global audiences, and a passionate advocate for building a company culture of respect, integrity, inclusion and support — areas in which we must innovate and improve,” Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said in a statement.
Pinterest is a go-to place on the internet for recipes, outfit inspiration and home decorating tips. In June, the discovery platform reported roughly 400 million monthly active users, most of whom are women.
Most of the board members, however, are men. Three out of nine board members, including Wishom, are women.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown. Contributing: Jessica Guynn
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