Social media firm LinkedIn has removed a racist diversity training program that encouraged participants to “be less white.”
The controversial training program, called “Confronting Racism, with Robin DiAngelo,” was first highlighted in the media after Coca-Cola employee whistleblowers leaked some of the slides.
While the company has contended that the program was not mandatory for employees, political YouTuber Karlyn Borysenko, who broke the story, says at least one employee has released an email backing up the claim that the training was required.
“The Confronting Racism course featuring Robin DiAngelo is no longer available in our course library, at the request of the 3rd party content provider we licensed this content from,” said LinkedIn vice president of corporate communications Nicole Leverich, reported Newsweek on Tuesday.
“We provide a wide variety of learning content, including more than 270 courses on the topics of diversity, inclusion and belonging,” the statement continued. “We will continue to add new courses to help people learn the skills they need to be more successful in their career, including the foundational skills we all need to be effective allies and help build a more equitable future.”
Coca-Cola released a statement Tuesday denying the training was mandatory and “not part of the company’s curriculum.”
“The video in question was accessible on a third-party platform and was not part of the company’s curriculum, so it was not required,” the statement said. “Our overall diversity, equity and inclusion training is required and received input from employees reflecting a wide range of backgrounds, views and expertise.”
As noted by The Daily Wire, Borysenko broke the story last week, leaking slides from the training online.
“The real story is that Coca-Cola is one of probably thousands of companies that are having their employees do these courses,” Borysenko told Newsweek on Tuesday. “Why did LinkedIn produce content asking people to be less white? Why are they still hosting this? Coca-Cola is a drop in the bucket.”
Newsweek noted that despite Coca-Cola’s claim that the training wasn’t mandatory, “Borysenko said multiple employees at the company say that it indeed had been—at least until Friday, and at least one employee provided her an email she says backs up the assertion.”
“I can understand sometimes there’s miscommunication between management and employees,” Borysenko said, “but the messaging I’ve seen does use the word ‘required.’ Everything I’ve seen says it was part of the coursework, but then it was removed over the weekend once the news broke.”
As highlighted by The Daily Wire, the diversity course in question was created by Robin DiAngelo, who is best known for her 2018 book titled, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.”
In the course, DiAngelo encourages participants to “be a little less white” by being “less oppressive,” “less arrogant,” “less certain,” “more humble,” and other tips.