I worked at Thomson Reuters for six years, starting as a Senior Data Scientist and soon being promoted to Director of Data Science. In that role, I pioneered the use of Deep Learning for understanding, analyzing and composing legal documents within the company, leading a team of Deep Learning scientists to help the company rapidly ramp up its proficiency with the technology and transform its business.
However, I started to notice more and more focus in the company on political correctness and racial ideologies. For example, on our internal social media site, called the Hub, there were numerous discussion threads, presentations and posts uncritically promoting racial ideologies about “white privilege” and “white fragility”, with essentially no dissent regarding the underlying assumptions of those ideologies.
I was uncomfortable with the promotion of these racial ideologies in the workplace. I found them insulting and don’t believe that they have a sound factual basis, but I was reluctant to discuss that openly because I worried that any dissent on these issues would destroy my career.
As another example, there seemed to be a broad embrace of the Black Lives Matter (“BLM”) movement, with hundreds of Hub posts celebrating the movement, as well as company sponsored events where BLM activists were invited to educate company employees about racial issues.
As someone who had been following the research about the impacts of the BLM movement—including the devastation inflicted on disadvantaged black communities by BLM inspired de-policing—it concerned me that there was a complete absence of balance to the discussion, or even awareness of the growing body of research about BLM and its impacts. Despite the company throwing its weight behind the movement, I wasn’t able to find a single instance of someone questioning or criticizing the BLM movement on the Hub.
The lack of awareness about BLM was especially concerning because of Thomson Reuters’ key role in the media. As one the largest, oldest and most respected news agencies in the world, Reuters has the power to shape the public’s understanding of key issues. And yet, there appeared to be a complete lack of internal knowledge and discussion within the company about this key issue of public concern.
In an effort to raise awareness, I posted to the Hub a review of the best research, coming from the most respected institutions in the country, about BLM and its impacts, and I invited my colleagues to discuss, analyze and add to this research with me. Disappointingly, but predictably, this precipitated a barrage of intensely angry and highly racialized attacks on me by BLM supporters at the company.
When I contacted Human Resources about these attacks and how they were making it impossible to discuss the facts underlying the company’s reporting, my post was immediately removed, I was told not to use any company communication channels to discuss what had happened to me, and I received no other support or inquiry. At a loss, I sent an email about my experience to my colleagues and to senior leadership in the company, for which I was promptly fired.
On this blog/newsletter, I will post (1) information and original materials showing what happened at Thomson Reuters, (2) updates and materials about my case, and (3) my thoughts and research about related political and social issues.
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