Bryant, who founded Black Girls Code in 2011, received support and compassion for her tweets from those in the tech business aghast about her removal. The Black Girls Code teaches young women of color how to gain access and opportunities in STEM-related fields among its efforts.
Black Girls Code’s board reported in a statement last week that Bryant remains on the company’s staff while “serious allegations of workplace impropriety are being investigated.” The statement indicated that the nonprofit had appointed an interim executive director to manage it.
At the time, Bryant tweeted, “Press release: so it’s 3 days before Christmas and you wake up to discover the organization YOU created and built from the ground up has been taken away by a rogue board with no notification.” Insider disclosed Bryant did not respond to a request for comment.
She has followed up with a formal statement to the online newspaper TechCrunch on her removal.
“First and foremost, I know that I have not personally done anything unethical, immoral, or illegal as the Founder and CEO of Black Girls Code,” she stated. “As a founder who has built something from her own blood, sweat, and tears from the ground up, this fight for me is about justice and giving rights to founders, especially women in leadership. We must be treated fairly and just.” Her statement added: “None of the so-called allegations have been substantiated, no investigation has even started, and this entire process has been dishonest and unlawful.”
In a later statement to TechCrunch, the Black Girls Code board of directors reported that they formed a special committee to review and evaluate complaints made by current and former employees about Bryant’s conduct. The board formed a special committee to review the complaints and placed Bryant on paid administrative leave last week “to ensure a full and fair review process.”
As part of her statement, Bryant cited interim board chair Heather Hiles, founder of edtech company Pathbrite, as the person who ultimately decided to suspend her “without fair investigation or substantiated allegations. For her part, Hiles responded in a text message to TechCrunch “the board has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the organization and the well-being of its staff. I can confirm that the recent activities are a result of following through in that responsibility.”
Sofia Mohammed, vice president of programming at Black Girls Code, is reportedly serving as interim CEO.