Uber Diversity Czar Suspended After Hosting ‘Don’t Call Me Karen’ Lecture

Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
Font Size:

Uber placed its head of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on a leave of absence after employees complained about two events titled “Don’t Call Me Karen,” which focused on white women’s experiences, according to The New York Times.

Bo Young Lee, Uber’s head of diversity, is on leave pending “next steps” from her employer after two sessions about the experiences of American white women sparked outrage among employees, according to the NYT. The events, which were part of a series of company racial discussions which began in 2020, drew criticism in company Slack channels for black and Hispanic employees. (RELATED: ‘Citi Bike Karen’ At Center Of Confrontation With Black Teens Paid For Bike, Lawyer Says)

After the first “Don’t Call Me Karen” discussion in April, a black woman asked how to avoid “tone-deaf, offensive and triggering conversations” from occurring in diversity initiatives at a company meeting, according to the NYT. Lee responded that the point of the series was to prompt uncomfortable conversations and to usher employees out of their “strategic ignorance,” and she later hosted a second “Don’t Call Me Karen” session to revisit the subject, after which black and Hispanic employees said they felt lectured.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 19: In an aerial view, the Uber office at 1725 Third Street is seen on May 19, 2023 in San Francisco, California. Uber announced plans to lease one of its new buildings that sits next to Chase Center in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood. The space is a fully furnished 285,000 square foot office building that is one of four buildings at the company's new headquarters. Uber has not occupied the office space since it was completed in 2021. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 19: In an aerial view, the Uber office at 1725 Third Street is seen on May 19, 2023 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“I felt like I was being scolded for the entirety of that meeting,” one employee wrote, according to the NYT. “I think when people are called Karens it’s implied that this is someone that has little empathy to others or is bothered by minorities others that don’t look like them. Like why can’t bad behavior not be called out?”

By referring to “Karen” as a hurtful term, Uber’s DEI staff were minimizing racism perpetrated by white people, employees complained, according to the NYT.

“We have heard that many of you are in pain and upset by yesterday’s Moving Forward session,” the company said in an email to employees. “While it was meant to be a dialogue, it’s obvious that those who attended did not feel heard.”

Uber did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.