NPR layoffs: employees blame racism and transphobia


You have to hand it to the Left. No matter what happens they have an all-purpose way to whine about it.

Bloomberg has a story about the layoffs at National Public Radio, and in particular the all-hands Zoom the executives held with the staff of their current and soon-to-be former employees.


It didn’t go well. It turns out that NPR is a racist, sexist, and transphobic hellhole.

Honestly, if it is so bad then it should be fully shut down. I strongly hope it is. We must promote diversity, after all.

Last week, NPR laid off 84 people and stopped production on four seasonal podcasts, including Invisibilia, Louder Than a Riot and Rough Translation. The company warned in February those cuts would be coming after it projected a $30 million sponsorship shortfall this year.

That shortfall isn’t a small one. For the first quarter alone the shortfall is 25% less than last year. That is a huge chunk of change, and NPR was facing going bankrupt within 3 years if the trend continues. They had to do something.

Sad. Very sad. I weep.

NPR’s Zoom call had over 800 people, and it was the culmination of a series in which smaller groups were briefed and allowed to kvetch about everything.

I don’t mean to sound uncaring; I would be devastated to be laid off, and my readers even more so. I can’t imagine your pain at the prospect, but mine would be substantial.

But the complaints at the meeting were…unusual. One would expect the concerns to be about support, future potential layoffs, and similar practical issues.


They were not. They had to do with diversity and inclusion. How many Blacks will remain? Why the big cut in trans people?

Among the requests: employees wanted to see more specific breakdowns around the number or percentage of employees of different races and identities who were laid off, rather than those of the remaining employees.

Uh, what? Really? This is your major concern? It wouldn’t have even occurred to me.

As of March 24th, for example, NPR had booked $28.9 million in sponsorship revenue for the first quarter, compared to $41 million the year prior. The team highlighted that diversity levels remained roughly consistent before and after the cuts, though trans people in the programming department dropped, going from 2.5% of the workforce to 1.2%.

Layoffs occur; trans people are hit hardest. Just for context, 0.45% of working-age adults identify as transgender, which suggests that even after the layoffs the group will be overrepresented by nearly 300%.

But the already tense environment boiled over during an exchange between CEO Lansing and a laid-off Black employee. That employee voiced concern that some podcasts hadn’t received marketing support and wondered how a show could gain audience without it. This person also listed executives’ names and repeated statements they had made in the past, asking for more accountability.

The individual then asked how NPR would make diversity work essential. Lansing replied that all the organization’s programming should be relevant to all of America — a stated mission for NPR

After replying, he then added that the group needed to “turn down the rhetoric” and not call executives out by name in an all-hands with hundreds of attendees.

“I would never, ever, on your worst day, call you out by name in a meeting with 827 people,” he said. “Let’s please keep in mind nobody is happy about this. Nobody is more unhappy about it than those affected, but certainly everybody in the company, beginning with me, this is the last thing we wanted to do.”

Some employees interpreted this as tone-policing and felt uncomfortable.


What the hell is “tone policing?” And if it is what I think, I would expect the bosses to do it all the time. I certainly would. I even had to fire an employee once for taking the wrong tone, although with an outside partner of my organization, and not to me.

You can’t pitch a fit and expect to not be rebuked.

That’s not how the NPR whiners saw it. Instead, they saw it as an example of White Supremacy.

No, I am not kidding.

They immediately took to Zoom and called Lansing’s response “racist” and out-of-line. Another staff member dropped a link to a segment from NPR’s Code Switch titled, “When Civility Is Used As A Cudgel Against People Of Color.”

“Civility is a weapon wielded by the powerful,” one person wrote, according to screenshots of the chat viewed by Bloomberg.

“This meeting has made me more afraid for the future of public media than any conversation I have had in a very long time,” wrote another.

WTF is wrong with these people?

Actually, all of us know what is wrong with these people. Victimhood is social currency, and any excuse to latch onto victim status must be taken. It is a powerful weapon against which others are nearly defenseless.

This has not been a good week for restoring my native optimism for the future, which has been eroding at an alarming rate.


Thank God I am off for the weekend. I need the break.

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