Business Insider CTO Forced Out for Sexist, Racist Tweets and Not Understanding the Internet

What Women Really Think
Sept. 10 2013 4:33 PM

Business Insider CTO Forced Out for Sexist, Racist Tweets and Not Understanding the Internet

pax
Pax Dickinson

Photo via @paxdickinson/Twitter

For years, Business Insider Chief Technology Officer Pax Dickinson was just tweeting along, novelty cowboy hat perched atop his head, collar popped, aviator sunglasses engaged: “Women's suffrage and individual freedom are incompatible. How's that for an unpopular truth?” he tweeted. And “Men have made the world such a safe and comfortable place that women now have the time to bitch about not being considered our equals.” And “This election will be decided by single women. It's an epic battle between ‘Jungle Fever’ and ‘Daddy Issues’."

Also: “In The Passion Of The Christ 2, Jesus gets raped by a pack of niggers. It's his own fault for dressing like a whore though.”

Advertisement

Yesterday, some people read these tweets, retweeted them, and wrote stories about them. “I've been expecting this to happen for a long time,” Dickinson tweeted as the opposition kicked into gear. “With me, they don't just disagree. It quickly morphs into trying to threaten my job.” Today Dickinson is no longer the CTO of Business Insider.

Even Dickinson had enough self-awareness to discern that his statements were “unpopular” to a degree that could affect his employment. It’s less clear why Business Insider (with whom Slate has a content-sharing partnership) took so long to catch on. Dickinson’s tweets were no secret within the company; the website’s chief correspondent, Nicholas Carlson, admitted to blocking his feed so he didn’t have to interact with him on Twitter. “Pax was speaking for himself, not Business Insider. We obviously don't condone what he said,” the company’s founder, editor, and CEO, Henry Blodget, told Valleywag’s Sam Biddle when the RTs began to mount. The next day, Blodget made the company’s position a little more obvious: “A Business Insider executive has made some comments on Twitter that do not reflect our values and have no place at our company. The executive has left the company, effective immediately,” he wrote in a statement.

It appears that the executives behind a website that reaches 23 million unique visitors a month have finally learned how the Internet works: "Pax Dickinson, CTO" is "Pax Dickinson, asshole"—there's no dividing line between the two. Dickinson listed his Business Insider title atop his twitter feed; when he sent out calls for open positions at the company, he included his Twitter handle. (Occasionally, Dickinson’s feed even provided potential applicants with valuable information about the hiring process: “Tech managers spend as much time worrying about how to hire talented female developers as they do worrying about how to hire a unicorn,” he tweeted last year.)

Dickinson may see the Internet as a freewheeling alterna-reality where he’s liberated to air his “unpopular truths” about the ills of women’s suffrage and employment. But the Internet is also the workplace. It’s perplexing why Business Insider would employ someone as openly racist and sexist as Pax Dickinson is, but it’s positively mind-boggling that Business Insider hired a CTO who doesn’t even understand that the Internet is real life.  

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

Natasha Lyonne Is Coming to the Live Culture Gabfest. Are You?

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The Secret Service’s Big Problems Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 2 2014 11:16 AM Some McDonald's Monopoly Properties Matter More
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
Doublex
Oct. 2 2014 11:34 AM Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Putting teenage girls on trial may finally be too much for the Supreme Court.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 11:35 AM Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar’s New Video Is Somehow Both Creepy and Joyful
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 11:41 AM Dropbox Recruiting Video Features Puppets and Data Privacy
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?