Netflix Hires Head Of “Inclusion Strategy” Following Executive Ouster Over Racially Insensitive Remarks
Netflix has hired Vernā Myers as vice president of inclusion strategy, a newly created role to help promote cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into all aspects of Netflix’s operations worldwide.
The hiring follows the ouster of Netflix’s chief spokesman, Jonathan Friedland, over racially insensitive remarks. At the time, Myers had been working for the company as a consultant, helping with its diversity and inclusion efforts.
For the past two decades, Myers has worked with major corporations and organizations seeking to eradicate barriers based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation.
“As a global company dedicated to attracting the best people and representing a broad range of perspectives, Vernā will be an invaluable champion of our efforts to build a culture where all employees thrive,” Netflix Chief Talent Officer Jessica Neal said in a statement.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Vernā is also the author of Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing and What If I Say the Wrong Thing? 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People. She has been an active speaker at TED and has also contributed to numerous publications including Refinery29, The Atlantic, Forbes, and the Harvard Business Review.
Myers said she’s long been a fan of Netflix’s inclusive and diverse programming.
“I am so excited and look forward to collaborating all across Netflix to establish bold innovative frameworks and practices that will attract, fully develop, and sustain high performing diverse teams,” Myers said in a statement.
Myers has her work cut out for her. Netflix ranks last among 10 studios in terms of ethnic and gender diversity among its TV directors, according to a 2017 survey by the Directors Guild of America.
Friedland was fired in June for dropping the “N-word” on two separate occasions, prompting a remarkably blunt admission of failure from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
“Going forward, we are going to find ways to educate and help our employees broadly understand the many difficult ways that race, nationality, gender identity and privilege play out in society and our organization,” Hastings said in a memo. “We seek to be great at inclusion, across many dimensions, and these incidents show we are uneven at best. We have already started to engage outside experts to help us learn faster.”