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Pinterest Shareholders Sue Over ‘Toxic’ Work Culture

The Verge

December 1, 2020

Top executives ignored allegations of discrimination, complaint says.

Pinterest shareholders are suing the company’s top executives, including CEO Ben Silbermann, for allegedly enabling a culture of discrimination. The toxic work environment has hurt the company’s reputation, leading to a user boycott and financial harm, the complaint alleges.

The CEO “repeatedly placed himself before the Company, surrounding himself with yes-men and marginalizing women who dared to challenge Pinterest’s White, male leadership clique,” the complaint says. The company ignored or silenced employees who tried to speak out.

The plaintiff in the suit is the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island, which oversees $8.5 billion in public assets, including retirement funds for thousands of Rhode Island teachers, firefighters, and nurses.

The suit claims Pinterest executives and board members breached their fiduciary duty by failing to respond to allegations of workplace discrimination. “Even when presented with widespread claims of race and gender discrimination at Pinterest, the [executives and board members] did nothing to address this misconduct,” it says.

. . .

This isn’t the first time shareholders have tried to hold companies accountable in the wake of significant press coverage. In September, Google’s parent company Alphabet settled a series of shareholder lawsuits claiming the company had created a toxic work environment where women were repeatedly sexually harassed. The complaints came after The New York Times reported the company protected former executive Andy Rubin, paying him $90 million after he was investigated for sexual harassment.

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