PagerDuty CEO faces backlash after quoting Martin Luther King Jr in layoff memo

US-based cloud computing company PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada has faced a backlash after quoting Martin Luther King Jr in a layoff email to employees in which she announced to cut jobs of about 7 per cent of its workforce globally, including the vast majority of which are in North America.

According to CBS News, at the end of the announcement, she said that the moment reminded her of Martin Luther King Jr’s quote that “the ultimate measure of a (leader) is not where (they) stand in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where (they) stand in times of challenge and controversy”.

A backlash emerged on social media, with people calling the email “tone-deaf” and “disgusting”.

Tom Gara, a technology communications manager at Meta, in a tweet wrote, “All-time classic bad layoff announcement: CEO of PagerDuty opens with “Hi Dutonians,” takes 370 words to get to the layoffs bit, continues for another *1250 words*, and ends with “I am reminded in moments like this, of something Martin Luther King said…”.

However, in a memo updated by PagerDuty, the CEO apologised for the way she communicated in the layoff email.

“The quote I included from Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was inappropriate and insensitive. I should have been more upfront about the layoffs in the email, more thoughtful about my tone, and more concise. I am sorry,” said Tejada in a blogpost.




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