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Microsoft employees urge Nadella to cancel contracts with police


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (file photo)


Seattle: Several Microsoft employees have written a letter to CEO Satya Nadella, urging the company to cancel contracts with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and other law enforcement agencies in the wake of police brutality episodes during the Black Lives Matter protests.

The internal email with the subject line "Our neighbourhood has been turned into a warzone" seen by the portal OneZero, nearly 250 Microsoft employees have asked the tech giant to formally support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and calls for the resignation of the Seattle mayor.

"Every one of us in the CC line are either firsthand witnesses or direct victims to the inhumane responses of SPD to peaceful protesting," read the letter.

"We are all in agreement that our neighbourhood has been turned into warzone escalated by SPD and that our coworkers and leaders need to know what is happening," it added.

Microsoft is not the only company that is witnessing such employee unrest.

Several current and former Facebook employees have criticized CEO Mark Zuckerberg's inaction over controversial posts from the US President Donald Trump on glorifying violence, calling him to start fact-checking world leaders and labeling harmful posts.

While Twitter put out a "public interest notice" on Trump tweet for violating the platform's policies about glorifying violence, Facebook refused to take action when the tweet was cross-posted to its platform.

According to the letter by Microsoft staff, "every passing day, we feel that our fellow coworkers, managers, and leaders who live miles away outside of Seattle are severely disconnected to the violent reality thousands of people have been facing every single day since last Saturday".

"24/7 helicopter noise, teargassing, flashbanging, rubber bullet, gun shots, and vans/buses filled with armed law enforcement. We need leaders like yourselves to help bridge this gap of disconnection, misinformation, and complacency," the letter read.

In a note to Microsoft employees earlier this month, Nadella said that every-day racism, bias and hatred in the news today is not new.

"It's far too often the experience and reality in daily lives, particularly for the Black and African American community," he said.

"I know it's not enough to just have empathy for those impacted, for the communities who are experiencing this hate, firsthand, who are scared for their safety, and for their loved ones," Nadella added.

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