Github apologizes for firing Jewish worker who warned colleagues about Nazis

Originally published at:


“patterns of behavior”

Being Jewish in an Alt-Right Atmosphere?


That’s the trouble with some humans - they’re just too good at recognising ‘patterns’.




At least Github saw it for what it was and sacked the head of HR who (as is the wont of HR in such situations) bungled things so badly that the company was exposed to both a PR disaster and a potential lawsuit. However, the employee(s?) who took offense to a Jew warning his friends to be careful of actual Nazis (like the “Camp Auschwitz” scumbag) during the Capitol insurrection is probably still around. That means the trouble is far from over and is far more toxic than the “we techno gods are above ideology” mindset you describe.



Corporations are collections of people, influenced by culture. Too often, those who create the toxic culture are allowed to remain. The fact that they got rid of the head of HR is a positive sign here, in the hopes that this can be a lesson for github culture and get the org moving in the correct direction.

Too often, these sorts of apologies are just words without anything more than minimal action, and I’m cautiously optimistic that they’re going to do more than that here.


Carrie Olesen. Mind if I call you Karen?


I read the Hacker News comments on this link this morning. There were more than a few people who thought his firing was justified, and were appalled that he would call people Nazis. I mean, yeah, they had Nazi symbols, Camp Auschwitz hoodies, 6MWE shirts, but let’s not be rude.


this isn’t the first time they’ve had problems with handling white bro culture at the company.

this is from a few years back, but basically after a sexual harassment issue they hired a set of people to help them fix their diversity issues, and after a few years that group got somewhat sidelined, and the effort petered out.

it sounds like there are some employees committed to trying to make it an inclusive company, and also - unfortunately - some who do not want that


It sounds like the person(s) who took offense did so because Trump supporters were being called Nazis. The problem for them is that the person who was fired was talking about the actual Nazis who were Trump supporters.

The dynamic of Trump supporters hysterically screaming that people are calling them Nazis, every time someone points out that the ranks of Trump supporters includes literal Nazis is getting more and more absurd as the Nazis become more and more obvious, more frequently front-and-center in Trump crowds. To make things more absurd, the two strains of Nazi defenders seem to be those who claim they’re only Nazis because liberals called them that, and those now claiming that the Nazis are actually… Antifa.


Jew-hatred is never far from the surface in the West. The anonymous bigot who made the original complaint is probably still ensconced and has had her/his resentment ratcheted up a notch. In the end it’s good to see that GitHub did the right thing even if it was only the threat of losing money that got them to do it


I work at GitHub (started there less than a year ago). This whole experience has been painful to me as I really enjoy my job and the people I work with. As a Jew, this made me feel unsafe and I initially felt like I had watch myself and what I said just because of who I am. In a way I’m lucky, because this is the first I have ever felt like this since I became an adult, but it still sucks.

After the initial fuck up, I think management has been generally doing the right thing. I can’t say I’m happy with the way things turned out, but I am willing to let things slide for now and just focus on my job. No one inside the company defended the firing and I’m willing to believe this was an anomalous mistake (at least no one admits to it). I’ll be wary going forward, though.


Good luck.


That does suck. I’m sorry you have to deal with those feelings so early into a new job. I hope this situation leads to a general improvement.


I get the impression that GH management are a bit bipolar in how they manage these things. Everything is black or white. They go off half cocked and create problems.

Measure twice, cut once.

Or learn to update to an old rev and branch around your mistakes. Never delete history.


On a different forum I used to frequent they had a special topic for rating apologies, as they happened in public events in the world. It was kind of a useful exercise, to discuss and tease out what makes an apology genuine and helpful versus a PR exercise or a non-apology.

This particular apology strikes me as… pretty great?

Things were very chaotic at GitHub for a loooong time, based on the stories I’ve heard… the whole “we don’t have managers!” meme

At GitHub we don’t have meetings. We don’t have set work hours or even work days. We don’t keep track of vacation or sick days. We don’t have managers or an org chart. We don’t have a dress code. We don’t have expense account audits or an HR department.

… which they explored from the earliest days definitely did not pan out.

But I have great respect for Nat Friedman and I think they are on a much better path now.


It sucks that that counts as lucky in today’s job market, but it does and I get what you’re saying. I’m sorry GitHub allowed this unsafe workplace for you and other Jewish employees. That’s just not okay. This mistake us 100% on them and I hope they’ve learned from it.

People deserve to contribute their talents and knowledge to workplaces that do the sort of work GitHub does without fear of retaliation for speaking truth to power, not to mention warning others of danger.


You ever notice how racists and Nazis take great offense when you call them “Racists” and “Nazis?”

It’s gotten to the point where they’re like, “Hey, you can’t use the R word! That’s our word now!”


Yes. Bit of a tangent here, but I’ve also noticed how many gender normative white men take great umbrage at any conversation where white men are discussed. No offense to any such on the bbs, but in personal experience, anytime I’ve brought up the issues of sexism or racism in a mixed group, the white men bristle and get very defensive. Except generally when I’ve been having those conversations in the punk community.
And to be clear, I haven’t been accusing the guys in the group of anything, just trying to point out things they might not be aware of.
I’ve tried to get them to understand that their experiences in life in that white male body are way different than what women, BIPOC, LGBTQ or others experience, to mixed results.
In case anyone is reading this who doesn’t already know: if a woman is discussing sexism or otherwise trying to bring up issues of equality, just remember that she has most likely been groped involuntarily, told to smile by a stranger, or masturbated at in public, or all of the above, many, many times already. These are the least harmful things.
So any discomfort you might feel about discussing how you were unwillingly born into a place of privilege is really small compared to what she is trying to talk to you about. I think it would be noble to sit through that discomfort and hear what she/they are trying to express.


Attempted to get a fancy ‘enterprise’ subscription based on licensing from the MS side up and working just recently; can confirm things are chaotic.


Damn silly thing for then to have fired him for as there were freaking Nazis in the insurrection mob and many other Trump Extravaganzas.

They no longer even try to hide it since Trump declared some them to be “fine people”.