Business Insider’s Chief Technology Officer Pax Dickinson was forced to resign over a series of offensive angry tweets that actually date back several years.
Ironically, it was one of his least offensive Tweets that led to his downfall.
Even though his Twitter posts are technically not a reflection on his employers – we all know that logic doesn’t hold up. You can cry “right to free speech” and “what I do on my own time” all you want, but a technology officer publicly deriding women in tech isn’t going to get you a Christmas bonus.
What I don’t understand is why it took Business Insider so long to show this man the door. Back in 2010, he posted one of the most offensive Tweets I’ve ever seen from an intelligent human. Since then, he’s posted rape jokes, racial and gay slurs and he even publicly challenged one of his complaining co-workers to come say it to his face.
Really? And it took Business Insider three years to realize that this man was doing more harm than good? People have been fired for less, that’s for sure.
On the other hand, where do we draw the line between company and personal? If I’m well behaved between 9-5, does my employer have a right to fire me for bad behavior when I’m off the clock? A lawyer could have argued that what I do after hours is none of my employer’s business and that might be true.
But the higher up you are, the more public you are – the more the rules change, especially if your name is closely tied to your employer. Companies have a right to protect their own reputation. Mr. Dickinson’s comments were not made on behalf of his company, but that won’t stop people from boycotting Business Insider anyway.
Today, the company posted this simple statement:
A Business Insider executive has made some comments on Twitter that do not reflect our values and have no place at our company. The executive has left the company, effective immediately.
Business Insider’s team is composed of more than 100 talented men and women of many backgrounds, and we highly value this diversity.
That last line – that’s the reason Mr. Dickinson had to go. Because there are 100’s of talented men and women working at Business Insider and they don’t deserve to get painted with the same brush.
As for Pax Dickinson, he’s responding as if it was all a big joke. Here’s his new Twitter header:
And then there’s this:
I gained 850 twitter followers and +7 @klout in less than 24 hours. Now offering social media consulting services.
— Pax Dickinson (@paxdickinson) September 10, 2013
I have to give him credit for his ability to bounce back. Two weeks from now, someone else will be in the hot seat and he’ll be on to a new job. That’s life in social media city.