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Black Streamer Allegations Exposes Corsair’s Diversity Failure

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:19 PM
Jasmine Henry
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:19 PM
  • Gaming hardware company Corsair appears to have just three Black employees out of more than 700.
  • A source also reveals that the lack of diversity at the company is “not something that they are aware of or care about.”
  • The findings underscore allegations from Black Twitch streamers who say that they have been denied opportunities to work with Corsair and criticism that the company was slow to voice its support for Black Lives Matter.

A closer look at the employee diversity of US-based PC and gaming hardware giant Corsair paints a troubling picture.

Examination of Corsair employee LinkedIn profiles appears to show just three Black employees out of 760 employees in total. The data backs the claims of a former upper-management Corsair employee who spoke to CCN under anonymity.

This means that Black employees make up just 0.3% of the workforce at Corsair. It’s a staggering disparity for a company with a broad consumer demographic and one that has partnered with Black and brown gaming influencers.

The Corsair family includes four high-profile and generally well-liked brands: Corsair, streaming hardware brand Elgato, computer hardware and accessory brand ORIGIN PC, and game controller hardware and accessory brand SCUF Gaming. The core demographic is streamers and gamers who want to elevate what they do, using Corsair’s high-quality devices.

Video: Corsair is a popular PC gaming brand – but it isn’t without controversy

A look at the employee listings on LinkedIn  for Corsair and these three other brands revealed that there are also few Black employees at these companies. The data has compiled by looking at the LinkedIn profiles of all professionals who list Corsair or its brands as their current place of employment.

1.2% of Employees At Corsair Are Black

Eight out of 110 employees at SCUF Gaming are Black (7.2% of the workforce), one out of 53 employees at ORIGIN PC is Black (1.8%), and Elgato appears to have no Black employees out of 24.

The total workforce Corsair and all of its brands are just 1.2% Black. Corsair, which is headquartered in Fremont, CA. and has a production center in Taiwan, predominantly has white and Asian employees. 

A Statista report from 2015  revealed that 12% of gamers in the United States, ostensibly one of Corsair’s biggest markets, are Black. At best, Corsair’s workforce is dramatically unrepresentative of the audience it serves.

MsAshRocks Elgato Black Lives Matter tweet
  Twitch streamer MsAshRocks criticized Corsair’s lack of Black Lives Matter support posts in tweets posted in June 2020. Source: Twitter 

Last month, several high-profile Black Twitch streamers leveled accusations of discrimination against Corsair, accusing the company of treating them poorly.

Corsair partners with many streamers, paying them or giving them free products to promote its brands during streams. The company was accused of denying partnership to Black streamers in favor of other, less popular non-Black creators, and of boldly lying to a Black streamer about the existence of the company’s partnership program.

Corsair was also criticized for being slow to voice its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the global protests against racial injustice and police brutality. While the company did eventually release a statement and confirmed plans to donate to “worthy causes surrounding this issue,” it came days after other gaming companies such as Rockstar Games had done the same.

Diversity Was ‘Never’ a Problem to Corsair’ Management

Speaking to CCN under the condition of anonymity, a former Corsair employee in upper management revealed:

“It was never a problem in their eyes that [the company was] not diverse,” adding diversity is “not something that they are aware of or care about.”

The source puts this down to two things: that the “owners really just care about pleasing their private equity company” and that CEO Andrew Paul “often hires friends of his or people he knows.”

Corsair Glassdoor ratings
  Corsair has 2.2 out of 5 stars on Glassdoor. Source: Glassdoor 

These comments are corroborated by reviews on Glassdoor, where the company has a rating of 2 out of 5 stars. Of 79 reviews from current and former Glassdoor employees, only 35% say that they would recommend Corsair to a friend; middling data from a company founded more than two decades ago, in 1994.

Corsair Glassdoor review toxic
  Corsair has a ‘toxic’ environment with ‘unworthy’ leaders, criticized one former employee. Source: Glassdoor
Corsair Glassdoor review fail
  Another Glassdoor review from a former employee called Corsair’s office politics ‘unhealthy’. Source: Glassdoor 

Writing in February 2019 , one former employee wrote that “the top leader & CEO has kept their friends in higher positions” and alleged that racism is “very strongly evident”.

Another review from a current employee, published in July 2019 , said that “the amount of favoritism here is frustrating.” Several other reviews published between early 2019 and May 2020 also talk about managers exhibiting favoritism.

Corsair clown tweet
  One Twitch streamer and former Mixer Partner suggested that Corsair’s statement would not have happened if Black streamers hadn’t asked for it. Source: Twitter 
Twitch Anillei Corsair tweet
  Twitch Affiliate Anillei called Corsair’s BLM support statement “disingenuous”. Source: Twitter 
Recky Corsair tweet
  Twitch streamer Recky was “disappointed” by Corsair’s BLM statement. Source: Twitter 

After Corsair’s public statement about Black Lives Matter , many expressed concern that the company was just performing lip service. Changing a company’s culture takes time but it’s clear that Black Twitch streamers are right to be skeptical.