The layoff of the streaming platform’s diverse team sent ripples through the DE&I space.
Allison Carter, Ragan Communications
Netflix did everything that DE&I advocates asked for when staffing its brand journalism venture, Tudum
The company hired a diverse cohort, mostly people of color and/or women. It gave them generous pay and creative freedom to speak to audiences from their individual, unique perspectives.
Then, after less than a year, Netflix laid them off.
After the plug was pulled, employees began speaking to the media, most on condition of anonymity.
“This was one of the most diverse teams that I have worked on in media,” one person told The Daily Beast, “and I feel like this is honestly kind of a textbook thing where they put a Black woman (Editorial and Publishing Manager Evette Dionne) in charge of something that they know they’re not going to support — that they know they’re going to sabotage — and then just let it fail.”
“They went very out of their way to hire high level journalists of color who have quite a bit of name recognition and a lot of experience and talent,” another member of the team who was let go told NPR. “In some ways, they were just buying clout to lend credibility to their gambit.”
There are a variety of lessons to be learned from Tudum’s downfall. One of the most important takeaways is around what hiring for diversity truly entails – and the reputational impact of laying off diverse teams that were never truly set up for success in the first place.