Nearly a month after news broke that 10 employee-designed LGBYQ Pride posters in the elevators at Amazon's Seattle headquarters were defaced over the preceding two months, the company's leadership has said it was "wrong" to do so.
Beth Galetti, Amazon senior vice president of human resources, sent out an email Tuesday saying all employees "should be able to bring their authentic selves to work every day to serve our customers — no matter our gender (cis or trans), race, ethnicity, education, age, disability status, or cultural background," reports CNBC. The email did not specifically mention sexual orientation.
"I want to address an issue we are seeing before it becomes bigger. In recent weeks, there have been a few cases of employees or their guests defacing elevator posters for events that promote diversity," Galetti wrote. "When individuals discriminate against others — be it by making a 'joke,' a passive comment, or by defacing a poster — not only is it against our policies, it is wrong."
This comes three weeks after CNBC reported on an internal email chain that described how an unknown culprit crossed out the "T" in "LGBT" on Pride posters or simply wrote "Why?" over the LGBTQ supportive message. In response, Amazon replaced the posters and included this directive: "Posters are company property. Defacing posters is a violation of Amazon's policy."
In over 100 responses, many said they felt Amazon did not effectively stand up for LGBTQ employees.
"The proper response to widespread pride poster defacement is not only a policy that prohibits defacement, but also a massive and overwhelming show of support for pride in many forms," one email read.
"This policy won't actually do anything to address the goal of stopping bigoted comments related to the poster," declared another. Other staffers dubbed the act as "authoritarian" and "coporate-borg."
"Amazon allows employees to create their own posters to advertise events across our campus," Amazon told CNBC in a statement when the news broke. "When we learned a few posters celebrating Pride were defaced, we worked quickly with the employees who created them to have them replaced, and we published new posters to reiterate our policy that posters shouldn't be altered. Since then, no other incidents have been reported."
The culprit has yet to be caught or punished.