Horrific ‘Slave-Master’ Allegation Puts Microsoft’s Mixer in Racism Storm

June 22, 2020 10:41 AM UTC
Mixer manager uses a 'slave master' analogy to depict relationship with partners as reports of racism at Mixer surface via a former employee.
  • A former employee has reported instances of racism while working at Mixer.
  • One manager used a ‘slave master’ analogy to explain their relationship with partnered streamers.
  • Xbox boss says Microsoft won’t tolerate racism on teams and services.

Mixer is under fire after a former employee has recounted instances of racism while working for the Microsoft-owned cloud streaming platform.

In TwitLong dubbed ‘Mixer: The Black Experience’ shared yesterday, Milan K. Lee shared his experience at Mixer in 2017 and 2018. Initial excitement at the prospect of working in the gaming industry soon turned into Lee’s worse professional experience.

Lee resigned as a consequence and detailed the events that led to that decision.

Mixer: The Black Experience

While at a conference I was pulled aside and told that the only reason I was hired is because I am “street smart”. The first thing that popped into my head at the time was affirmative action. I believed I was only hired to meet a diversity goal because I was black.

In an internal meeting, a manager at Mixer produced a racist ‘slave master’ analogy to depict the relationship with partners.

My manager decided to give us an analogy, that analogy was “I’m in between a rock and a hard place. What I mean is all the partners are my slaves, I own their content. I control their success on our platform. For me I am the slave master, I own partners”.

During a 1:1 with said manager, Lee explained why the analogy was inappropriate. Only for the manager to deflect and suggest that Lee develop ’emotions and feelings’ to manage these types of comments.

She decided to defend her statement and even had the nerve to google that analogy to prove why it was okay. After Google showed her it was NEVER okay to use that analogy, she told me I need to work on myself. If I wanted to go far in this industry I need to work on my emotions and feelings to similar comments. After this meeting I knew I was leaving.

Internal Investigation

Although Lee reported the incident to a skip-level manager at Mixer, HR expressed surprise when Lee raised the incident.

Lee resigned weeks later, but not without triggering an investigation into the manager’s behavior via Mixer’s legal team. Lee received the results of that investigation late last year.

That finding was not guilty! 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.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer responded directly to Lee’s tweet about their experience at Mixer;

Thank you for coming forward and sharing your experience. If willing, can we connect so I can learn and understand more? Racism will not be tolerated on our teams or on our services.

The news comes in the wake of allegations of harassment and misconduct from several prominent figures in the gaming community, including SayNoToRage, ProSyndicate, and HenryG.

Samburaj Das edited this article for CCN.com. If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us.

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