Irish tech company Intercom is reportedly facing employee unrest after a new policy is stopping support for this year’s Pride celebrations.
Recently staff were informed that Intercom would no longer promote any employee resource groups (ERGs) in the workplace. The policy enforcing this discontinuation of support for employee-focused initiatives has been in place since last year, the company claims.
The policy also forbids office decorations or the hosting of events for individual communities, which became known after employees questioned why Pride flags had been removed from the company’s offices in Dublin before Pride month ended.
This is really embarazzing. Are you not embarazzed @intercom?! ?
— Gaylgeoirí ?️? #AchtAnois ⭕️ (@Gaylgeoiri) July 3, 2023
During a companywide staff meeting in June, excerpts of which were shared with GCN, Chief Executive Eoghan McCabe, who returned to his current position in October last year, stated that the decision not to support Pride was “a tough” call to make, especially after the company has shown support for the event in past years.
As a reason for the decision, he states that the “social conversation” especially around LGBTQ+ topics has recently created a lot of division, pointing towards the political debates in the US and the UK.
“What’s really tough now is that Pride has got wrapped up, unfortunately, within some circles in kind of more divisive and political issues,” he said.
He went on to assert that the change in policy was not due to the different groups or individuals that participated in them but was a result of the company’s desire to focus solely on its work and not issues that could potentially cause division.
.@intercom just casually ending Pride support and ERGs broadly(!) is so wild. You really look around at the times we’re in and go, yeah, time to stop supporting our marginalised employees because it’s “become political”. It was always political, what it’s BECOME is inconvenient.
— James Heslin (@PROGRAM_IX) July 3, 2023
A spokesperson for Intercom told The Irish Times that, “This is a crazy time for tech. Businesses are under pressure, AI [artificial intelligence] is changing everything. Companies that do not apply very high degrees of focus to their work will struggle”.
“We’re deprioritising absolutely everything that does not directly contribute to our success and it’s yielding great results. We’re incredibly proud of the open, accepting, mature culture our CEO is building and the new high bar for talent he’s setting, too,” they said.
Terrible to see @intercom declaring Pride is over. As a gay man it’s no small thing knowing your employer marks it. Knowing I am supported and don’t need to hide who I am. Shocking to see intercom open that closet push its LGBTQIA+ staff back in.
— Patrick Mooney ?????? (@PatrickMooney) July 3, 2023
This approach seems to align with the CEO’s business approach, as he is said to solely focus on building the business. It is, however, also noteworthy that McCabe has a history of liking homophobic tweets, some of them going as far as comparing Pride flags to Nazi symbols.
Intercom, as a company, had been supportive of Pride up until this year. From multimedia content highlighting issues the LGBTQ+ community faces to learning sessions on different LGBTQ+ topics such as trans awareness and supporting LGBTQ+ children, the company has actively participated in Pride month both internally and externally, until the new policy was enforced.
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