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    2 managers at the World Economic Forum, which hosts the glitzy Davos conference, said the N-word in front of staff: report

    Two managers at the World Economic Forum used the N-word in front of employees, per the Wall Street Journal.

    Reuters

    Two World Economic Forum managers used the N-word in recent years, employees told The Wall Street Journal.The nonprofit’s founder said he will step aside as executive chairman as part of a planned transition.The WEF is seen as a champion for inclusive workplaces and gender equality.

    Two managers at the World Economic Forum used a racist word in front of employees in recent years, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

    According to the Journal, which interviewed more than 80 current and former employees, employees faced gender discrimination and racism, among other issues, at the Switzerland-based nonprofit.

    Best known for its annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, the nonprofit brings together top voices in government, business, and research. The Forum also publishes regular reports on economic growth, climate action, and inclusive workplaces. Staffed by about a thousand employees, the Forum brought in more than $400 million in 2022-2023, per its annual report.

    Six Black employees told the Journal they were denied promotions or were otherwise sidelined at work. The Journal also reported two instances in which white managers used the N-word in front of Black employees.

    A spokesperson for the Forum referred Business Insider to a statement denying the accusations in the Journal’s article.

    “The high standards we set for ourselves are supported by a framework that includes clear principles, a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of harassment and discrimination, mandatory training for all staff, confidential reporting channels, and a thorough investigation process,” the statement read. “It is deeply disappointing that The Wall Street Journal is knowingly publishing demonstrably false assertions to mischaracterize our organization.”

    In the statement, the group did not specify what in the article was inaccurate.

    A leading voice on DEI

    In one 2018 incident, then-operations chief Jean-Loup Denereaz belittled a Black woman on his team in front of the office, saying, “What can you expect from a N–,” the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the incident.

    Employees also said Denereaz made other distasteful remarks, including inappropriate comments after a sexual harassment complaint was brought to him, the Journal reported.

    The Forum told the Journal that Denereaz was fired in 2018, days after the N-word incident. He did not respond to BI’s request for comment or comment to the Journal.

    In a separate incident, a white South African manager, Margi Van Gogh, used the N-word in front of a Black woman while talking about the Danish and South African words for chocolate-covered marshmallows in 2022, the Journal reported, based on documents and interviews.

    The Black woman, who reported to Van Gogh, raised her concerns with the N-word in an email to her. In a subsequent discussion, Van Gogh “cried about her ancestral guilt” and suggested the Black employee initiate a DEI training, per the Journal. Human resources at the Forum denied her resources for the training, and there was no follow-up from Van Gogh, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

    Van Gogh did not respond to a request for comment from BI or comment to the Journal. The Forum told the Journal the matter was resolved.

    The Forum also told the Journal that it was aware of three allegations of racial discrimination since 2020 and that each was investigated.

    These incidents at the Forum are especially striking because the nonprofit has tried to position itself as a leading voice on gender equality and creating equitable workplaces. In 2022, the group founded the DEI Lighthouse Program to identify workplace DEI initiatives and publish regular reports about DEI efforts.

    In a late May memo to staff, Forum founder Klaus Schwab said he planned to step aside as executive chairman as part of a planned transition. The announcement came after Schwab wrote to the Journal, concerned over the paper’s reporting. His family remains heavily involved with the Forum and with a sister organization.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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