Snap’s SVP of engineering responds to claims that the company has a “toxic” and “sexist” culture

By Emily Price

May 29, 2018

Snap’s SVP of engineering sent employees an email Tuesday responding to a Cheddar story suggesting the company’s culture was “toxic” and “sexist.”

The story focused on a farewell email written by a female software engineer at the company last November. The engineer listed traits of an engineer, including being a person of color and a woman, and said, “It’s fine if this list doesn’t describe you . . . But it’s not fine if you think, consciously or subconsciously, that these traits prevent you from being a good engineer. It is my deepest hope that this company can be a place that is kind, smart, and creative. I’m just done fighting for it when very few other people seem to care.” Only 13% of Snap’s technology roles are held by women, and women make up less than 25% of the company’s senior managers.

It was an email that reportedly resonated with many Snap employees. In the email response from SVP of engineering Jerry Hunter, Hunter says that the email was difficult for him to read because he doesn’t “want anyone on my team to ever feel the way that Shannon felt,” which underscores why Snap has made a number of changes since last December, including the start of a Women in Engineering team that meets regularly to discuss changes that are needed to make a more inclusive team, he says. “We will continue to take important feedback like hers to heart, and as the last few months should show, we put those learnings in action,” Hunter wrote.