Harriet Alexander, Daily Mail, July 16, 2020
Stefan Kozak, CEO of North America for the Austria-based company, and Amy Taylor, North America president and chief marketing officer were let go, the energy drink company confirmed on Tuesday.
Kozak and Taylor had lobbied in recent weeks for more diversity in the company and were blamed for the leak of a letter that criticized Red Bull’s ‘public silence’ on Black Lives Matter.
Florian Klaass, the Austrian-based head of global head of music, entertainment, and culture marketing, was also fired.
All three were told they were losing their jobs on Monday, Business Insider reported.
Klaass had been under fire since a February presentation in Detroit to 100 employees, discussing the global reach of the company.
In his presentation he showed a slide, which was leaked to Business Insider, of a world map that illustrated world stereotypes through American eyes.
America was marked: ‘We’re number 1!’ while Canada was labeled ‘uninhabited’.
The Middle East and Southeast Asia were marked as ‘evil doers,’ continental Europe as ‘pussies,’ and South America as ‘coffee comes from here I think.’
Mexico was marked ‘they do our laundry’; China was shown with the label ‘they make our stuff’; the Middle East had an arrow indicating ‘bombs go here’.
Antarctica was simply: ‘cold’.
Australia was marked: ‘kangaroos’, and Africa was labeled: ‘zoo animals come from here’.
Multiple employees said Klaass’ Austria-based team included the slide, despite being warned not to do so by U.S. colleagues.
The company said he was let go due to downsizing.
While Red Bull employees in the US have been pressing for the company to be more vocal about racism, Red Bull’s billionaire CEO Dietrich Mateschitz is a Donald Trump admirer who has spoken out against ‘political correctness’.
The 76-year-old tycoon also owns a media firm which has been criticized for giving a platform to far-right activists in his native Austria.
Taylor, a 20-year veteran of the company, had been working for some time on making the company more inclusive.
She is an outspoken gay rights activist and has been commended for her efforts to make the company more open and tolerant.
Taylor wanted the company to speak out about racism and was working on a project to increase black representation but the company leadership was ‘not interested’, sources claim.
The Red Bull F1 team did put a statement out on June 22 speaking of its ‘determination to tackle the challenges that we as a sport, but also society, are facing’, saying that racism ‘has no place in our modern world’.
The main Red Bull Instagram account posted a black square on June 2 in an online trend called Blackout Tuesday, which many celebrities used as a way of showing support for Black Lives Matter.
However, Kozak reportedly told employees on June 17 that the brand would not make further public comments on the matter.
Red Bull has not commented on the shake-up of its senior U.S. staff, but said the firm was dedicated to countering racism.
‘We reject racism in every form, we always have, and we always will,’ the company’s board said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.
‘Red Bull has always put people and their dreams and accomplishments at its core and values the contribution of each and every person – no matter who they are.
‘We want everyone who feels this way to be welcome in Red Bull.’