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CEO faces backlash after quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in layoffs announcement

Google has cut 12,000 jobs, with layoffs continuing in the tech sector


The CEO of a tech company sparked a backlash after quoting civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in an email announcing it would cut 7% of its workforce.

PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada wrote in a 1,700-word email that the digital operations management company was making some other changes, including promoting some executives and cutting spending. Tejada’s email was too Spread on the company’s website.

Toward the end of the ad, she said the moment reminded her of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s quote that “the ultimate measure [leader] not in it [they] Standing in moments of rest and comfort, but where [they] Standing up in times of challenge and controversy.”

The letter sparked a backlash on social media, with observers calling the email “tone deaf” and “disgusting”. Tejada’s outreach, which oscillates between somber corporate rhetoric like calling the layoffs “improvements” and optimistic comments about “extremely talented individuals who #brought themselves” to work, comes after a series of tech layoffs that have been criticized as You lack compassion and humanity.

“The all-time classic bad layoff announcement: The PagerDuty CEO starts with the song “Hi Dutonians,” takes 370 words to get to the layoff part, goes on *another 1,250 words* and ends with “I get reminded in moments like this,” of something Martin Luther King said. Tom Jara, Meta’s director of technology communications, noted in a tweet.

Others said the email felt like it was written by ChatGPT, and one critic called it “hidden[ing] Human losses behind a smokescreen of jargon and passive voice”.

PagerDuty did not immediately return a request for comment.

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