The former board member at one of the nation’s largest retail companies sent a disparaging email to an office manager at a firm she worked for
VF Corporation is down a board member just days after Axios reported that Veronica Wu called the Black Lives Matter organization “the true racists.” Wu also made dismissive comments about racism in the US.
The apparel company is insisting that Wu made her own decision to step down and it was not the result of the company’s disagreement with her on any matter relating to its “operations, policies or practices.”
VF Corp., one of the largest apparel companies in the US, is the parent company of Vans, North Face, and Timberland.
Per the Axios report, Wu’s controversial comments appeared in an email that she sent in 2020. At the time, she was a managing partner at Hone Capital, a venture capital firm, as well as a board member for VF.
Veronica Wu (McKinsey and Company)
The email she sent was in response to an office manager at the firm regarding the Juneteenth holiday. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in the US this year.
“I don’t believe in Black Lives Matter,” Wu reportedly wrote in the email, saying she was “particularly” not in support of the holiday. “If anything I think they are the true racists trying to stir up things to make this country going to socialism or even communism potentially.”
Wu, who said she considered herself a minority female but never experienced racial or gender discrimination, also opined that no one was investigating the ‘racism’ in the NBA, which has a majority of Black players.
Ironically, around the same time, VF’s chairman, president, and CEO Steve Rendle sent a company email to all employees taking a stance against racism, calling George Floyd’s death “tragic” and “stomach-churning,” Yahoo Finance reports.
“The virus behind our global shutdown has a formal name: COVID-19. The virus that caused the death of George Floyd and many other people of color also has a formal name. It’s called racism,” Rendle wrote.
“Racism is not welcome at VF Corporation. It never has been and never will be. And while we as a company can’t create a vaccine to eradicate racism from our planet, we can do our part to lead with purpose, inspire others with our actions, break down racial and ethnic barriers and be part of the solution.”
VF has made many efforts to become more diverse in its hiring. In the spring, VF and Pensole Design Academy partnered on DiverCity x Design, an apprenticeship program that aims to empower Black, indigenous and people of color.
Axios also reported that VF Corporation did investigate the email, finding it to be legitimate. Still, Wu remained on the board. VF Corp refused to comment on the matter when asked to do so by Business Insider.
Wu joined the VF board in 2019.
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