As part of the company's attempt to change public perception, Uber has made high-profile hires including former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and donated to organizations like Girls Who Code.
Uber’s year of diversity woes and sexual harassment allegations has sparked a culture shift in the company to welcome women and minorities into the fold.
And Black Girls Code was on that list of organizations that would help rebuild Uber’s reputation. On Thursday, Aug. 24, Uber offered $125,000 to founder Kimberly Bryant’s company aimed at teaching and inspiring black girls to get into the tech industry. She turned down the large sum because she didn’t think the move was genuine.
“My decision is layered,” Bryant told TechCrunch. “I’ve been quite open for some time about the fact that we as an org use Uber as a tool. We’re also headquartered in the city [Oakland] where they have planned to move. So I’ve been open to the notion that they can transform themselves. Yet their past history and ‘political’ nature of maneuvering is and was troubling.”
Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, who brought the sexual harassment allegations to light, believed that the move was just a public relations stunt.
Bryant also agreed that the donation “seems a bit tone-deaf to really addressing real change in how they are moving towards both inclusion and equity. It appears to be more PR driven than actually focused on real change. So we turned it down.”