Why David Bonderman’s Apology Isn’t Enough
It has come to light that David Bonderman doesn’t say the nicest things about women in his meetings. As of Tuesday, David Bonderman has resigned his position as a board member at Uber.
In a meeting earlier this week, David Bonderman added another dent to Uber’s not-so-stellar reputation. During a conversation about recent sexual harassment issues in company culture, Arianna Huffington, a fellow board member, mentioned the benefits of additional female voices to Uber’s board. She explained that data shows the existence of one woman on the board increases the likelihood of additional female members being added.
Bonderman replied, “Actually, what it shows is it’s much more likely there’ll be more talking.”
Huffington brushed off the remarks in a joking manner, but once the meeting was over, complaints to managers came flooding in. His comment was flagrantly disrespectful, insulting women’s efficiency and productivity in the workplace. In response, Bonderman emailed a statement to Uber employees:
“I want to apologize to my fellow board member for a disrespectful comment. [… My comment] came across in a way that was the opposite of what I intended, but I understand the destructive effect it had, and I take full responsibility for that.”
As a man in a position of power, the things that Mr. Bonderman says have an impact. Stereotypes about women and many other groups of people fill our world every day. Having someone in a position of power reinforce those stereotypes only makes them more prevalent. By making remarks like the one above, Bonderman is contributing to the disrespect those groups receive on a daily basis. It affects every person out there subject to those prejudices.
Also: “[My comment] came across in a way that was the opposite of what I intended.” I’m sorry, Mr. Bonderman, then what did you intend? Really, I’d really love to know.
Make no mistake, Bonderman’s comments were sexist. Sexism and prejudice run deep in our society, often emerging in ways we don’t even notice. While Bonderman’s apology is important, and, yes, still appreciated, the most important thing is a shift in future behavior. The way we act and interact as individuals needs to change before we can change society as a whole.
The things you say and do in this world matter. Even if only one person hears it, you’re having an impact on the world we live in and perceptions of the people in it. Make sure it’s a positive one.
Meg Thomson is a writer, photographer, blogger, and activist. When she isn’t writing, Meg can be found immersing herself in television scripts, adopting and playing with animals, or updating lists of her dream travel destinations (the list never ends). Meg believes writing is power, and equality is essential. She is determined to make a difference in the world, one word at a time. See more articles by Meg.