Zuckerberg Takes Employees to Task for Defacing Black Lives Matter Slogans

February 29, 2016   |   Michaela Whitton

Michaela Whitton
February 29, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) An alleged bastion of free speech, Facebook prides itself on having as few barriers as possible to people sharing what they want, within reason. Ironically, the social media giant had to take its own staff to task this week after employees defaced a Black Lives Matter slogan displayed on company premises.

Facebook employees are 69 percent male and only 2 percent are black. Staff have previously admitted that the company has a long way to go to achieve greater diversity.

The company’s offices in New York’s MPK building span over 430,000 square feet and have been referred to as a “garden-roofed fantasyland.” It is a longstanding tradition at Facebook headquarters that employees can write on dry-erase message boards — as they would on their Facebook virtual wall.

In a private memo posted on an employee announcement page and obtained by Gizmodo, Mark Zuckerberg said there have been several instances of employees scratching out “black lives matter” and writing “all lives matter” on the company’s famous signature wall. It seems the incident has happened before, and Zuckerberg responded forcefully, issuing the culprits a stern warning and calling the behaviour disrespectful and malicious.

Black Lives Matter was never meant to suggest that other people’s lives didn’t. In a country where black Americans are almost eight times more likely to be homicide victims than white ones, “all lives matter” has become a toxic comeback that denies racial disparity. In an interview with Fox News, Seattle Black Lives Matter co-founder, Marissa Jenae Johnson, says “all lives matter’’ is, in fact, a racial slur:

“The reality is that white Americans have created the conditions that require a phrase like Black Lives Matter. Do you know what I would give to live in a world where I didn’t have to say Black Lives Matter? Do you know how horrific it is to grow up as a child in a world that so hates you that you have to literally say to other people ‘my life matters’ and they’re like ‘well everybody’s lives matter’ while you’re literally being gunned down in the street, while you’re being rounded up and mass incarcerated and forced into prison slavery?

“Black Lives Matter is not a strong enough statement for me,” she said.


This article (Zuckerberg Takes Employees to Task for Defacing Black Lives Matter Slogans) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Michaela Whitton

Michaela Whitton joined Anti-Media as its first journalist abroad in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include human rights, conflict, the Middle East, Palestine, and Israel. Born and residing in the United Kingdom, she is also a photographer.

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9 Comments

  1. And yet, by saying that Black Lives Matter while deriding the idea that All Lives Matter, you are sending an explicit message to children that unless you are Black, your life is meaningless.

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  2. Bad move. I'm not white, far from it, but I still think Black lives matter shouldn't be some kind of explicit slogan. It should be all lives matter, otherwise we're segregating the races even further. It's time we start seeing everyone as humans rather than colors. It's not toxic, it's simply the fact that we should work to include everyone.

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  4. A message said kids would never get unless they were as painfully desperate for self delusion as you are.

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  5. Until all lives actually do matter as proven by action and thought the slogan means dick. You know all lives don't matter because if they did there wouldn't be this pathetic need to introduce false dilemma into the equation. This "all or none" thing? It's a construct. It's based on a non sequitur. Blacks never said other lives don't matter. So there's no reason to compensate for that having been said. Nothing to counter.

    To the statement that Black lives matter, the response from anyone who actually agrees would be very simple. "They certainly do". Costs nothing.

    The goal of saying all lives matter in response to someone saying Black lives matter is denial of the fact that there has ever been a reason to doubt. I will never accept denial as solidarity.

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  6. No. Nothing makes a singular race more special than another to make a claim like that. Whether it's a slogan that says Black lives matter, or its something like Girls over guys, or anything that divides humanity, I'll be against it. Offense is taken, not given. Although I do take into account some people might be saying the line "all lives matter" as an insult, many like myself simply say it out of the need to include the whole rather than a selection.
    We're never going to advance as a species if we keep dividing ourselves and keep seeing anything that includes other people as an offense (Black people who shame white people, Feminists who hate on men, islamophobic or any kind of bigotry).
    It can also be said the simple reply of "All lives matter" to the sentence "Black lives matter" can also be replied with a "They certainly do." rather than taking it like a jab. Just because someone is saying all lives matter doesn't mean they are disagreeing with you, sometimes they are agreeing but widening the scope. I'm Asian, we're also highly discriminated against, but you don't see me saying "Asian lives matter." I would make a movement for humanity, not a race. But hey, that's just my two cents, you're free to follow your own thoughts and opinions and I respect your free choice.

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  7. Though I agree with the sentiment, I find it dissingenous and duplicitious that this article talks about Zuckerberg without quoting his words and then injecting Marissa Jenae Johnson's words.

    Without quoting what Zuckerberg said, this is hearsay. And by surreptitiously quoting Johnson at the end without it being a directly connected fact to what transpired in Facebook, that's shitty journalism.

    Do you really need to stoop that low as a journalist to make the point? This is a disservice to BLM.

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