GitHub, a Microsoft company, allegedly fired a Jewish employee for saying “there are Nazis about” in reaction to the insurrectionist occupation of the US Capitol building last week.
Business Insider today broke the story reporting that “some 200” employees had signed a letter demanding answers from the company’s CEO Nat Friedman. According to the article (paywall), the employee received a warning from HR for their comment before being terminated for what the company claims is a pattern of misconduct.
Background: Without knowing exactly what GitHub’s claiming the employee did before the “Nazi” statement it’s difficult to assess whether the blow-back against the company is likely to die out or become a grassroots movement similar to the currently unfolding situation surrounding Google’s firing of eminent AI ethicist and researcher Timnit Gebru.
But, we can say beyond a shadow of doubt that there were, in fact, Nazis “about” during the insurrection at the Capital. Neo-Nazi groups were among those responsible for organizing and attending the attempted coup to overthrow the US government.
Quick take: Friedman says they’re going to get to the bottom of things and sort out exactly what happened, but the damage is done. It’s common knowledge that one of the insurrectionists, pictured in the tweet above, wore a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt to the event. Unless the fired employee’s alleged pattern of misbehavior is egregious enough to put the general public off to their firing, Microsoft can add this to its suite of PR problems which include several controversial contracts with ICE and the Pentagon.