Basecamp CEO Jason Fried was forced to apologize for asking woke staffers to leave their politics at home. Ben Chesnut at Mailchimp may have been in an even worse position after the Intuit sale.
In a nearly 1,400-word email Chestnut said he’s identified a dangerous trend in his workforce: new hires introducing themselves using their preferred pronouns.
“This is completely unnecessary [for] a woman (who is clearly a woman) to tell us that her pronouns are ‘she/her’ and a man (who is clearly a man) to tell us that his pronouns are ‘he/him,’” he wrote in an email to a small group of employees obtained by Platformer.
Chestnut said he understood the practice was rooted in kindness, but added that “in the long run this approach does more harm than good.” Forcing people to behave a certain way was “the opposite of inclusion,” he added.
In his email, though, Chestnut worried that employees were getting distracted. They cared more about politics than the mission, he wrote, sounding notes that have previously been echoed by founders at companies including Coinbase and Basecamp.
Chestnut went on: “First, there is a very tiny number of peeps at Mailchimp who would consider themselves transgender. Forcing (either with orders, or through guilt) approximately 1,390 other peeps to adopt a new communication paradigm that humanity has never had to use in our 300k year existence, and in our 150k years of spoken language, in order to make things slightly more comfortable for an extremely small group of peeps is completely illogical.”
He added that if people are forced to do something illogical they will “eventually believe and do anything (even if it’s vicious).”
No kidding, albeit behind the curve.
“Now, everything is incredibly politicized,” he said in the email. “I am finding that peeps are no longer motivated by meaningful work – they are motivated to make political statements. They are using company time and company resources to win a game, against their opponents, in a game that is raging in their minds and on social media.”
Chestnut encouraged employees to respect people with different political viewpoints. “Understanding and respecting that fundamental concept – that grown adults can have different views — is a part of being American, and part of being mature adults,” he said. “Peeps of all different political leanings are free to vote the way they want to see our country governed. But that (very American) act is for the ballot box. Not for the workplace.”
Except the workplace is the Left’s latest conquest.
On August 10, Ben Chestnut, the billionaire founder and CEO of Mailchimp, announced he was abruptly stepping down. “Over the last 21 years as Mailchimp’s CEO, I’ve developed a strong sense of timing,” he said in a letter to employees. “Now is the right time for me to take a step aside and evolve my role.”
Maybe it’s unrelated, but Intuit’s statement raises obvious issues.
In an email sent to Platformer, Intuit said it was committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. “We also expect everyone, including leaders, to be accountable for approaching all situations with empathy, always considering the experiences of others,” they added. “While we can’t comment on internal personnel issues, we addressed this immediately and took appropriate action in alignment with Intuit’s values and principles. We have also made our expectations clear to everyone involved in this matter.”
What exactly did he do wrong? Intuit can’t and won’t discuss that. But the pattern is familiar. Anyone who questions the idea that there ought to be politics at work, e.g. Fried, Chesnut, is immediately identified as an enemy to be purged. If he questioned any of the more obnoxious elements of performative wokeness, like pronouns, he can also be denounced as a bigot who is endangering the safety of employees from Group X. It doesn’t matter if you’re a janitor or the CEO, they will come for you.