back to article Over long US weekend, GitHub HR boss quit after firing Jewish staffer who warned Nazis were at the Capitol

GitHub has apologized for what it called “significant errors of judgment and procedure” in the firing of a Jewish employee for warning colleagues of neo-Nazis at the Capitol during its ransacking by pro-Trump rioters this month. The Microsoft-owned code-hosting biz's COO Erica Brescia said in a blog post, emitted late on …

  1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Exactly what did GitHub "apologize" to?

    Did GitHub apologize for terminating the employment of the individual without/before any investigation or did GitHub apologize for using the "patterns of behavior" as a ground for the termination?

    1. iron Silver badge

      They apologiesed to the employee they wronged obviously. I think you mean what did they apologise FOR.

      1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

        They apologiesed to the employee they wronged obviously.

        GitHub did the following:

        a. Wrongfully fired the employee without/before any investigation.

        b. Used the reason "patterns of behavior" as grounds for the firing.

        Which of the two did GitHub apologize for?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. cornetman Silver badge

    They were terminated from their employment for stating what they believed to be facts, presumably because the employer thought that there would be some public backlash to them so reacted pre-emptively demonstrating a serious lack of good judgement and a very weak spine.

    The complainant should grow a thicker skin for Christ's sake.

    Not sure what the religious affiliation of the employee has to do with the issue. Does the fact that they are Jewish mean that they should deserve some kind of special consideration? In my view, the employee was clearly in the right, even if the demonstrators weren't literally Nazis. Bringing their religion up just clouds the issue.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Thing is, the people he was talking about was using actual Nazi symbols.

      The term Nazi was not being used as an insult but an actual description.

      1. stiine Silver badge

        what symbols?

        Are you telling that the fucking nazis are now claiming viking honred helmets and fauxahantas native american garb? Or is it hoodies?

        1. Geoffrey W

          Re: what symbols?

          There was a swastika or two on display, tattoo and badge and flag, plus a bloke in a shirt that read "Camp Auschwitz" on the front, and apparently the slogan from above the gate of said camp - "Arbeit macht frei" (Work will set you free, or not, in the case of concentration camps). Is that Nazi enough for you?

          And don't bother telling me they were trolling the snowflakes. If a troll is indistinguishable from a Nazi then it's a Nazi; ducks quacking and dogs barking, and all that.

          1. AlanB

            Re: what symbols?

            There was also a video of at least one guy wearing a Hitler-Jugend knife.

          2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

            Re: what symbols?

            Someone else had a shirt with "6MWE" on it (for "Six Million Wasn't Enough"), so definitely Nazi.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: what symbols?

              The Register with click-bait hate articles, cool... cool...

              As soon as anyone mentions "Nazi", you get what you'd expect and it's comical to me at this point. When was the last time you've seen "Nazi" spawn anything but hateful discussion?

              As proven _EVERY_TIME_: "Nazi" == hateful discussion

              Maybe the Nazi's really did win the war, after all their goal was to change how people think.

              1. Geoffrey W

                Re: what symbols?

                This was a tech based story that actually involved the word "Nazi". Hard to report on that story without using the word "Nazi". The hateful discussion usually comes about when someone "Trolls" by being an apologist for the "Nazis" or by denying there were any present, or by ridiculing the "haters" (how very dare we hate "Nazis"?), or by defending the Swastika as an ancient symbol of light and life so it's fine to use it in any situation; that symbol went up in flames long ago when it was subverted, and inverted, by the "Nazis". Hateful discussion occurs because the "Nazis" were actually hateful.

                And...I know these weren't actual literal "Nazis" - They were a Political/Religious/Mystical party that hit it's peak back in the 1940's when the 1000 Year Reich went Kaput! after a bit over 10 years. As always, long on posturing, short on delivery (though I'll grant they were pretty good on atrocity.) These are the bargain basement "Nazi Lite" "Nazis" who are pretty good at being loud and offensive and not much else; certainly no intellectual thought going on. Their violence is generally small scale, thankfully, though still nasty, and rather pathetic.

                1. jilocasin
                  Headmaster

                  Re: what symbols?

                  I think the word you're searching for is Neo-Nazis

              2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

                Re: what symbols?

                I am old enough to have met a couple of actual, real, Nazi-time, ... Nazis. I know how they walk and how they talk and how they click. The people we are talking about here are Nazis, one hundred percent. Considering the USA is one Atlantic away from where I live the similarities (for a lack of a stronger term) are absolutely stunning.

              3. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: what symbols?

                > As proven _EVERY_TIME_: "Nazi" == hateful discussion

                First use of screaming capitals: you.

          3. chivo243 Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: what symbols?

            I have a screen shot of the Nazi flag that passed in front of the camera, my brother in the states and I were watching it unfold on different feeds and sharing screen shots. I think I posted the twitter link for the short video that showed the flag in a previous discussion.

            https://twitter.com/ElijahSchaffer/status/1346881968819105792

        2. brotherelf

          Re: what symbols?

          Even the 1.0s claimed (their take on) germanic/norse culture, such as runes, so yes, quite empathically, yes.

        3. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: what symbols?

          Someone pointed out to our paper (the Los Angeles Times) in a letter that there were people wearing "6WNE" logos, pointing outt that it stood for "6 million was not enough". Its really a matter of knowing what to look for and where to look -- everything was hidden in plain sight.

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Bringing their religion up just clouds the issue.

      Is this so incomprehensible to you that somebody who is Jewish can be very sensitive to everything related to Nazism??? Are you kidding?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, bringing up the fact he is Jewish clouds the issue about his termination. What he said was perfectly just without bringing his Jewishness into the equation.

        Are you saying that if a non-Jew had said the same thing, HR should have treated them differently?

        You owe the OP an apology for making up what he said, and then chastising him for it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I agree, as a fellow Israelite, that his culture / ethnicity / religion (if he's observant) has bugger all to do.

          Personally, I do not use the word nazi to refer to anything but actual members, supporters or sympathisers of the NSDAP, as I believe this relates to a very specific historical period (I am of a generation that grew up meeting, knowing, and interacting with those… and I recall one such person having met an untimely end while crossing a road not long after he volunteered to my grandfather that his real name was not the one he had used to introduce himself. I never asked.)

          It doesn't mean that other people cannot be just as disagreeable, cowardly, and of low morals, but I'm a bit of a stickler for terminology.

          As to Silicon Valley prime donne, I honestly don't give a toss about them one way or another. They should just do their jobs and save their personal conversations for the pub.

          1. MJB7
            Headmaster

            members, supporters or sympathisers of the NSDAP

            The point is that I think these individuals *were* sympathisers of the NSDAP.

    3. Clive Galway

      > Not sure what the religious affiliation of the employee has to do with the issue

      Seriously ??? You're not sure why a Jewish person would be concerned that someone was storming the capitol with "6 million (Jews) was not enough" emblazoned on their t-shirt??

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's not what he said AT ALL.

        He said that the employees comment was justified, whether he was Jewish or not, and that therefore his Jewishness was irrelevant to the case.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The complainant should grow a thicker skin for Christ's sake."

      Even if the employees religious affiliation wasn't a significant factor in the original sacking, now it's being discussed, that just adds insult to injury.

    5. martinusher Silver badge

      As it turned out this Jewish person weren't the only one to be worried about being out and about during this incident. There was a story in the paper about a lady -- a black lady -- who had come up to DC for a job interview who unwittingly landed in the middle of this. Not the actual riot, but there was enough people and bad feeling about to make it very uncomfortable for any obvious non-white racial group out on the street.

    6. DS999 Silver badge

      I'm shocked

      But I shouldn't be, that people are trying to deny the reality that there were actual literal Nazis as part of the group that stormed the capitol and tried to violently overthrow the legislative branch.

      Calling them Nazis doesn't mean that everyone inside the capitol was a Nazi, but to deny there were multiple Nazis in there with all the pictures and video showing them (as well as several of them being arrested and having their links to Nazi groups exposed) shows an ability to deny reality that I didn't think was possible in a person sane enough to function in society.

  3. Peter Prof Fox

    A waft of warm air

    So has 'head of HR' been properly sacked or just shuffled to somewhere else in Microsoft?

    So has the person who moaned been investigated for knowingly smearing religious faith?

    So perhaps the management can tell us:

    (a) Lessons learned

    (b) How to reclaim trust with (at least) those who complained at the original decision.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: A waft of warm air

      Her LinkedIn page seems to imply no longer employed by anyone (for the moment)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A waft of warm air

        I think she may find she's made a career-limiting move (until she invokes the Right to be Forgotten, and gets a job in Europe).

        1. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: A waft of warm air

          "...and gets a job in Europe)."

          No thanks, the US can keep her.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No thanks, the US can keep her.

            If she is actually involved in what happened, yes. There's always the chance, though, that this happened below her pay grade and she's actually taking the fall regardless, as it was on her watch.

            If it was the former, I'd agree with you. If the latter, that's honourable and she deserves to be allowed to move on reputation intact (unfortunately I suspect the former as presumably they would have clarified if it were the latter).

            1. Kibble 2

              Re: No thanks, the US can keep her.

              It would be interesting to know the identity of the original snowflake troll and the specific wording of his / her complaint to HR. However I suppose that information won't come out for various reasons.

              It would also be interesting to find out if HR's head was given a choice to quit or be fired by management.

            2. Jonjonz

              Re: No thanks, the US can keep her.

              She does not seem to have any history of sympathy for white supremist/Nazi's, and she seems highly regarded by her peers on LinkedIn, so how/why is she getting the axe for this. Perhaps she was delegating the authority to oversee matters like this to an unqualified and/or inexperienced subordinate who may have been a Nazi sympathizer, or just plain incompetent.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A waft of warm air

      > So has the person who moaned been investigated for knowingly smearing religious faith?

      On a technical point, I wish to recall that a Jewish person (such as myself) is not necessarily an adherent of the Jewish faith. Jewishness is primarily about ethnocultural heritage. I reckon the majority of us are not actually religious (and some who are religious observe other practices, Buddhism being kind of popular for some reason).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Buddhism being kind of popular for some reason

        I could be wrong, but I have a suspicion that Buddhism may be popular as from some angles Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion, so it can often be slotted into a Jewish, Christian, or other worldview.

        It has been said (not all agree) that the Buddha himself had a cultural belief in gods but was of the opinion that religious speculation was pointless. Given that, it is quite common to take some of the teaching such as the four noble truths and the eightfold path, without taking on the religious aspect.

  4. JWLong Bronze badge

    Good to see....,

    ........the PC crowd get slapped down every once in a while. The employee did nothing wrong.

    And, the Nazis where flying Nazis flags.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Good to see....,

      @JWLong

      " Good to see the PC crowd get slapped down every once in a while."

      The amount of power given to such PC nutters is insane. I wonder if it was a PC nutter inside the company or an overreaction because of nutters outside the company. But yes its nice to see the push back against it

    2. anonanonanonanonanon

      Re: Good to see....,

      My guess is it would have been a trump supporter trying to play the PC card

  5. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge
    WTF?

    "offering them their job back"

    "accepted GitHub’s offer of their job back"

    FFS! Has this publication been visited by the Ultra Politically Correct fairy?

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

      I'm confused

      No idea what you're talking about. Please elaborate, lego is an acceptable medium.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm confused

        Interpretive dance can be a useful medium in these cases.

      2. BrownishMonstr

        Re: I'm confused

        I think it was the use of "their". Not sure how it's politically correct, it's a valid use of the language.

        I think schlee needs to calm down a bit as schlee is only making a joke of schlimself/schlerself. Hope schlee doesn't go all capitol on us.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I'm confused

          Well spotted. And, yes, it's good, plain English. It looks as if it's Sceptic who's being the snowflake here.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: I'm confused

            While we're on the discussion of the use of "their", why do so many transgender people seem to want to be referred to in the third person plural (they/their) instead of simply he or she as appropriate?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'm confused

              Have you tried asking them?

              1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                Re: I'm confused

                Or, indeed, googling* it

                - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/04/gender-neutral-pronouns-they-he-she-why-deny

                - https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/they-them-their-why-some-people-use-these-pronouns-instead-of-he-or-she

                - https://www.lexico.com/grammar/he-or-she-versus-they

                And many, many, many other hits

                *Other search engines are available, and arguably better

                1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

                  Re: I'm confused

                  German makes this easier, having male, female, and neuter/neutral forms throughout the language. der (pronounced "dare") male, die (prononunced Dee) female and das (pronounced like DOS) neuter/neutral prefixes, and the pronouns to go with them. None of this "they" and "their" business.

                  As for *why*, some people view themselves (when transitioning) as neither male or female, they are literally transitioning and in between; some people go for being androgynous and so really are not planning to be either one; and I assume some are going to stay "gender fluid" and probably view themselves as both, at the very least (unless they're wearing clothes that make it obvious) it'd be easier to use neutral terms than to decide which gender they are at the moment if they're switching back and forth on a daily basis.

                  1. heyrick Silver badge

                    Re: I'm confused

                    Thank you. I hadn't considered changing to a non specific gender. That does make sense.

                  2. MJB7

                    Re: I'm confused

                    I don't think German makes it easier. "Es" translates as "it" in English - and you wouldn't "Es" for a person any more than you would use "it", and for exactly the same reason.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: I'm confused

                      > and you wouldn't "Es" for a person any more than you would use "it", and for exactly the same reason.

                      Das Kind, es ist süß.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'm confused

              It's the fashionable thing these days. Like self-diagnosed "autism" and stuff like that (very disrespectful of actually autistic people).

              None of the trans of my generation use anything other than he / she.

            3. aqk
              Trollface

              Re: I'm confused

              I calls dem da way I sees 'em. Hey! He's a "she"! And look at dat! "SHE is definetly some guy!

              Hey, punk- Wanna fight?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm confused

        I think crayon is probably more his medium, lego requires a bit of logical thinking.

      4. CRConrad

        Re: I'm confused

        Probably the "their" when the guy has already been called "he" elsewhere. (I lean towards agreement.)

    2. Tuxie

      You guys are the damn snowflakes here. They are using nongendered language because they are still trying to keep the details about the worker mum.

      Regardless what you think about

      people using they/them pronouns about themselves this one particular usage is pretty fucking straightforward and standard.

      1. aqk
        Paris Hilton

        ...still trying to keep the details about the worker mum.... "

        HEY! MY Mum was a worker! Long before this pandumbic BLM / metoo nonsense came around!

        Now, go wash your mouth out. No, not with beer... with SOAP!

    3. desht

      I suggest you take some advice from Billy Butcher, and don't be a cunt.

  6. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Godwin's Law doesn't apply to actual Nazis

    1. AlanB

      "By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you." -- Mike Godwin

      https://twitter.com/sfmnemonic/status/896884949634232320

      https://www.theregister.com/2017/08/14/godwins_law_creator_rescinds_ruling_after_nazis_march_in_charlottesville/

    2. aqk
      Mushroom

      It seems that Balloune's Law is more appropriate here!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope that "the coworkers who opposed Nazis being branded Nazis" will in turn be looked at closely. They may genuinely have concerning "patterns of behavior" --- although it may now be enough that their colleagues are aware of who they are.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I often find that the Nazis work for HR

    But you don’t expect to see them storm the Capitol.

  9. Grunchy

    Blues Brothers

    The best scene was when the f’ing Nazis won their court case and were out marching and blocking traffic, and it took Elwood’s Bluesmobile to chase em off the bridge.

    The world needs more Dodges.

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

      Re: Blues Brothers

      I hate Illinois Nazis

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Santa from Exeter
      FAIL

      Re: Seems El Reg is still missing some facts. @AC

      The Truth does not comr from Fox News or underground Alt Right "News" sites

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      FTFY

      "Posted Anon because" ...that's the simplest and most effective way to spread misinformation. Put it out there and don't have the balls to stand by it. You could have at least posted links to support what you've said.

      In response, look up the name Jenna Ryan. She seems firmly convinced that she had an invite from Trump (and as such, thinks she should be let off).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems El Reg is still missing some facts.

      >Why do you not include the simple fact...

      Looks like you need to brush up on your understanding of the word "fact". Maybe this whole situation is due to a mix up between the words "fact" and "lie" by the right?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems El Reg is still missing some facts.

      Is that the "John from Utah" who was outed as a dodgy and dangerous self publicist (and possible agent provocateur) by the left in Portland? The one with the Proud Boys brother? His footage from the Capitol in available, including the shooting of the unfortunate QAnon victim, Ashli Babbitt. There is a link in a Rolling Stone article to his shiny new feeds and YouTube posting under yet another nom de guerre "Jayden X". Grim watching. Not advised.

      Unsure how reliable this thread is, but does raise serious questions about said person:

      https://mobile.twitter.com/RebellionBaby/status/1349717938803142656

    5. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Seems El Reg is still missing some facts.

      That's bullshit.

  11. HammerOn1024

    Well... if I was the employee terminated

    I would have already filed a $100 million EEOC lawsuit, flipped the CEO's office windows off on the way out; called the HR rep firing me a knuckle draging moronic twit; mooned the building while shouting "And you can French Kiss my furry white ass!"

    Going back would not even be on the table.

    Oh, and as part of the settlement for the lawsuit, the CEO would be fired, all those involved in the termination would be fired and the board of directors would each have to officially acknowledge, in published writings on every social media platform, that they are responsible for letting this happen.

    But that's just me...

  12. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Leave the Jews out of it

    I was working at a Cisco kid a couple of decades ago and me and my boss turned up early for a meeting so were chatting away. He'd just bought his flat and I asked if that was wise as my cottage hadn't increased in value over the previous decade. He replied, "Even in the worst hyperinflation in pre-war Germany, property owners survived comfortably".

    I replied, "Except for the Jews". I meant nothing by it, except 'the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley', and we shouldn't talk of investing in pre-war Germany without mentioning the catastrophe that followed.

    At that point my bosses boss who had just entered said angrily and in disgust to me, "Please, leave the Jews out of it, that's unacceptable language."

    I was totally nonplussed and for once lost for a response even though lots were on my tongue. Did he really think I was demeaning Jews - me, an anti-Nazi and Cohen fan? How do you discuss pre-war Germany without mentioning the Jews?

    I expected my boss to explain what I'd said but he was silent. I realised my bosses boss really didn't like me before that and chose to misinterpret me, my boss didn't have my back, and so I started to look for another job. I wasn't censured or even disciplined in a way I could reason with or complain about, but knew that was time to go.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One fewer HR manager, one better corporation.

    Github should take this to its logical conclusion.

  14. georgeOfLoughton

    >in our original story we were skeptical

    Journalists should be skeptical but this is worse than that - you used weasle words to implicitly tarnish the reputation of an employee about whom you knew literally nothing except for his race and the stated reasons for his being fired. This is not a good place for a respectable technology publisher to be - or the Reg for that matter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you want utterly crap writing and reporting may I suggest the Independent.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        If you want utterly crap writing and reporting may I suggest the Independent.

        Is there any decent newspaper in the UK nowadays?(*) They all seem to be increasingly desperate clickbait trying to keep the advertising revenue up.

        (*) Genuine question, I'm looking for one to replace my current newspaper which has gone drastically down hill.

        1. Peter Prof Fox

          * genuine answer

          Private Eye. Fortnightly. Funny as well as satirical. Investigative journalism that makes you care about uninteresting things you'd never heard about.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Is there any decent newspaper in the UK nowadays?

          The Financial Times.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Skepticism

      It was never our intention to tarnish anyone's reputation and I wanted to be very careful that we didn't. We felt that we were maybe only hearing half the story. And as it turned out that it really was a one-sided HR screw-up, we ran a second story and addressed our misplaced skepticism. At least we're being transparent.

      There's very very rarely a perfect story in which there is a clearly defined good person and a bad person, and the good person has done nothing wrong, and the bad person has done everything wrong. Life is way more complex than that. Hence our concern.

      But it turns out it really was that bad -- and we've followed it up and laid it out here.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's like Donald Trump

        I will explain how next week.

  15. aqk
    Facepalm

    I'm confused. Is Nat Friedman "Jewish"?

    Who was fired? Nat?

    Donald Trump's son-in-law wished to know!

    So does Donald's daughter! Umm.. so does Donald! (I think)

    Should I cancel my Githhob membership? Should I warn the Proudboys to stop using Python, or Ruby? Or "R"? Is "Q" like "R"?

    Please! Someone help me!

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