3 PR lessons from Twitter’s response to workplace diversity

The engineering VP apologized for the site’s handling of diversity issues and shared improvement goals. Here’s what communicators can glean from his actions.

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Elton John warned us that sorry seems to be the hardest word, but it wasn’t a struggle for Twitter’s Alex Roetter when he responded to a former employee who questioned the microsite’s commitment to workplace diversity.

“The comments attributed to me aren’t an accurate or complete facsimile, but they conveyed a meaning that was very far from what I intended, which means I did a poor job communicating … I am truly sorry,” wrote Roetter, Twitter’s vice president of engineering, on Medium.

Leslie Miley, who was Twitter’s only black engineer before leaving the company in October, published a post on Medium where he questioned Twitter’s commitment to diversity. Although he didn’t name Roetter in the post, he refers to him.

“With my departure, Twitter no longer has any managers, directors, or VP’s of color in engineering or product management,” wrote Miley, who turned down a severance package so he could speak freely about the company’s workplace diversity issues.

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