A DEI exec at Uber was placed on leave after hosting an event about white women who don't like being called a 'Karen'

A gray office building with a white "Uber" sign
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  • Uber's head of diversity has been put on a leave of absence, the company confirmed.

  • The news came after employees brought up concerns about a DEI event on "Karens," per the NYT.

  • The term has been used to call out white women who act racist in public.

A diversity, equality, and inclusion executive at Uber who upset employees by hosting an event that highlighted the "spectrum of the American white woman's experience" has been put on leave, according to reports.

In a statement to The New York Times, Noah Edwardsen, an Uber spokesman, confirmed on Sunday that Bo Young Lee, the head of diversity at the ride-hailing company, is "currently on a leave of absence."

Lee hosted a pair of events over the past few weeks called "Don't Call Me Karen" — an exploration of the Karen persona that featured white women speakers, the Times reported.

These events resulted in employees phoning in concerns to leadership that the framing of the term Karen as hurtful minimized the harms of racism, according to Slack messages obtained by Richard Hanania, the founder of the conservative organization the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, as well as messages reviewed by the Times. "Karen" has long been used as a term to call out problematic white women who commit racist acts in public.

In response to employees upset by the event, Lee said during an all-hands meeting that "being pushed out of your own strategic ignorance is the right thing to do," according to an employee from the meeting who spoke with the Times.

Representatives for Uber and Lee did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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