Basecamp employees resign after CEO Jason Fried bans political discussions in workplace

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A week after enterprise software maker Basecamp’s ban on political and societal discussions in the workplace announced through CEO Jason Fried’s blog, several employees, including those who served for over a decade and the entire iOS team. were reported to have rendered their resignations.

Amid a wave of opinions, netizens and employees have drawn parallels between Basecamp’s current ban and Coinbase’s ban in October 2020. Its co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong had also tweeted in support of Basecamp’s ban. Much like Coinbase, Basecamp has also come under the radar of criticism.

On April 26, 2021, Jason updated his blog with his new policy. Stressing that Basecamp was project management, team communication, and email software, and not a “social impact company,” Jason added.

Every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant. You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit or wading into it means you’re a target

Jason Fried

According to Casey Newton, who writes for the Platformer, among the employees, such a ban falls under the radar of willful ignorance about the world and their loved experiences. According to an employee, discussing issues such as parenting without any ties to society was a concern.

“How do you talk about raising kids without talking about society? As soon as I bring up public schools, then it’s already political,” the employee states.

Moreover, Casey Newton enunciates how tensions arose from internal conversations about the company itself and were not necessarily centered around political discussions.
For Jane Yang, quoted in the article, restrictions on internal conversations had repercussions on the diversity and inclusion aspirations of the company. Citing the company’s profit-sharing plan, which gives more profits to people having a longer tenure, which inadvertently comprises of “white and male,” Jane states,

Making that discussion off-limits internally could ensure that inequality in profit sharing becomes a structural feature of the company.

Jane Yang, Senior policy analyst and Data lead, Basecamp.

Further developments are being watched.

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