A former Microsoft employee left the company following its alleged failure to address racism within the management of its Mixer streaming service.
Milan Lee, who worked at Microsoft for two years starting in 2017, described his experience on the Mixer team as "the worst I've ever had professionally, and it's all due to RACISM."
In a Twitter blog post, Lee said he was initially "beyond happy" to move to Seattle and join the Mixer team, due to a longstanding desire to work in the games industry. However, he was one of the few Black people on the team, and suspected that he was "only hired to meet a diversity goal because I was Black."
The main example Lee cited was a meeting in which his manager used slavery as an analogy to explain Mixer's relationship with its partners. In a subsequent meeting, Lee voiced his objection to the analogy to his manager, but his complaint was allegedly disregarded and he was told to "work on [himself]."
"If I wanted to go far in this industry I need to work on my emotions and feelings to similar comments," Lee recalled. "After this meeting I knew I was leaving."
Lee has also alleged that his "skip level manager" didn't report the complaint to human resources, and he resigned shortly after. A subsequent investigation by the Microsoft HR team found the manager to be not guilty of the charge.
Lee added: "The reason my manager was not penalized and the reason she still has her job today is because she CANNOT be racist. The reason she CANNOT be racist is because she hired a Black person."
Mixer responded to Lee on Twitter with the following statement: Our goal is to build a positive, welcoming, and inclusive team and community. To those sharing your stories; it's unacceptable that we did not provide that for you. We'll be vigilant in addressing this more diligently in the future."
Phil Spencer, who oversees Microsoft's gaming activities including Mixer, reached out to Lee on Twitter to ask if he would agree to a meeting.
"Racism will not be tolerated on our teams or on our services," Spencer said.
Lee has now confirmed that he will meet with Spencer today to discuss his experience in more detail.