- Coinbase on Thursday issued a preemptive denial of an upcoming New York Times story, saying the piece will allege workplace discrimination against Black employees.
- Coinbase said the Times story, due to be published in print Sunday, will cover organizational changes made in 2018, and “will likely imply that Black employees were discriminated against during this process; this is false.”
- Members of Coinbase’s executive team told staff they “don’t care what The New York Times thinks.”
- “Overall, we expect the story will paint an inaccurate picture that lacks complete information and context, despite our best efforts to fact-check details of the story with the reporter,” it said.
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Coinbase on Thursday released a statement preemptively denying an upcoming New York Times story, which the cryptocurrency company said would likely allege workplace discrimination against Black employees.
According to Coinbase, the story will focus on changes made to two internal teams, its “Compliance and CX orgs,” in 2018. The story, which Coinbase said will be published in print this Sunday and online before that, will include on-the-record quotes from former employees and contractors involved in the organizational changes, according to Coinbase.
“The story will likely imply that Black employees were discriminated against during this process; this is false,” Coinbase executives said in an unsigned blog post.
“Overall, we expect the story will paint an inaccurate picture that lacks complete information and context, despite our best efforts to fact-check details of the story with the reporter,” Coinbase executives said in an unsigned blog post.
The company added: “The story will also likely allege that a number of Black employees and contractors referenced in the story filed complaints with the company. In reality, only three of these people filed complaints during their time at Coinbase.”
Coinbase also said internal conversations about Black Lives Matter were leaked to The Times.
The New York Times did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Earlier this year, more than 60 employees resigned from the crypto startup, which is valued at about $8 billion, after CEO Brian Armstrong created a policy banning corporate social activism.
Company insiders described Armstrong as being intense, sometimes miscalculating how his communications would be received.
In Thursday’s blog post, Coinbase said members of its executive team addressed an employee resource group this week, telling them in part, “we don’t care what The New York Times thinks. The most important thing we care about is you, our employees, and what you think.”
Executives at Coinbase hadn’t seen the full story, but they said it will be inaccurate “despite our best efforts to fact-check details of the story with the reporter.”
In the blog post, much of which was also sent as an email to staff, the company said it expects increased media scrutiny after publication. Executives urged staffers to focus on the company’s mission, rather than “these types of questions and comments again.”
The company said: “That said, we know the story will recount episodes that will be difficult for employees to read. As we shared in a recent AMA, no organization is ever as perfect as the media suggests in the most glowing article, or as bad as the media alleges in the most negative article.”
The company did not detail the allegations, but said each allegation of discrimination had been investigated internally or by an independent third party.
According to Coinbase, part of The Times’ story would revolve around its Belonging, Inclusion & Diversity team (BID). As of Thursday, Coinbase had a job posting listed on its website for a director of that team.
In part, that person would be responsible for: “Owning, executing and advancing our newly refreshed BID Strategy, which rests on the vision that every employee feels they belong and can suc eed,” according to the listing.
The job listing was posted on LinkedIn a week ago.