After examples of discrimination, microagressions, emotional abuse, and tokenism at Crisis Text Line exploded on Twitter, the nonprofit’s board ousted its CEO.
Nancy Lublin was terminated from her position and board seat Friday, according to a statement from the organization’s board, which former employees shared on Twitter. The firing comes after employees staged a two-day virtual walkout and the hashtag #notmycrisistextline became a magnet for accusations about the mental health service’s toxic internal culture.
“Crisis Text Line is not the safe and welcoming place it should be. We recognize and apologize for our role enabling this environment to persist. We take full accountability and are ready to address these issues head-on. No form of racism or bullying of any kind will be tolerated at Crisis Text Line,” the statement reads. Mashable has reached out to Crisis Text Line for comment. We’ve also tried contacting Lublin via LinkedIn.
It also notes that the Board of Directors knew of “inappropriate conduct” since 2018 but failed to take any action.
Crisis Text Line isn’t the only organization with a social good bent facing a reckoning as employees speak up amid the mass protests against systemic racism unfolding on streets across America. Earlier this week, progressive media brands Refinery29 and Man Repeller were exposed for their own hypocrisies, too.
Founded in 2013, Crisis Text Line made a name for itself by harnessing data and technology to innovate its text hotline. Rather than use a first-come-first-served system, Crisis Text Line leverages an algorithm to identify those who need the most urgent help. The organization partnered with big names in tech and entertainment like Reddit and Riot Games and received millions in funding from the likes of Kate Spade New York and Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.
Meanwhile, employees say their passion for the cause that brought them to Crisis Text Line in the first place eroded after years of being overworked, underpaid, and emotionally abused. Former employees also complained on Twitter of being silenced by non-disclosure agreements they signed when they left the organization.
Also caught up in the flurry was Do Something, a nonprofit focused on helping young people inspire change. Crisis Text Line was an offshoot of Do Something, which Lublin helmed before founding the hotline service. Former Do Something staff echoed similar concerns of a toxic workplace on Twitter, as well.
A coalition of Crisis Text Line volunteers wrote a list of demands before Lublin’s termination. Her ouster was top of the list. They also called for “a platform where we can openly disavow racism that we see without it turning into a witch hunt” and official communication from Crisis Text Line leadership that acknowledges past mistakes and outlines how they will be fixed.
As part of its statement announcing Lublin’s departure, the board vowed to open up two positions to people of color and hold anti-racist trainings for board members on an ongoing basis, starting this summer. They also promised to “immediately dismiss crisis counselors who exhibit racist behavior.”
The nonprofit plans to hold a town hall to further discuss its plans to develop an anti-racist workplace next week.