B.C.-based Hootsuite backs away from ICE contract after employees speak out
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrest someone on Feb. 7, 2017 in a provided image. (Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)
VANCOUVER -- Hootsuite has backed away from a deal with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement following outcry from within the company.
More than 100 employees raised concerns after learning the B.C.-based social media service was working on a three-year contract with ICE, according to one worker who spoke out on Twitter this week.
"That we are eagerly accepting money from an organization that is allegedly subjecting its female detainees to forced hysterectomies, that has a documented history of locking children in cages, that tears families apart and destroys lives is devastating and disgusting," wrote the employee, who goes by the username Sam.
"Even more heartbreaking is that multiple members of our Mexico City support team have relayed their personal experiences being targeted and harassed by ICE and our leadership team chose to push this deal through anyway."
The employee, who tweeted that she would not be doing interviews on the matter, indicated that workers first learned about the deal back in June.
The internal strife led Hootsuite to form a committee to "consider all points of view" on the potential deal, CEO Tom Keiser said in a statement Thursday, but management decided to press forward with the contract anyway.
That changed this week following "a broad emotional and passionate reaction from our people," Keiser said.
"I – and the rest of the management team – share the concerns our people have expressed. As a result, we have decided to not proceed with the deal with ICE," the CEO wrote.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement prompted widespread outrage last year after it was revealed that six migrant children had died in federal custody over a period of months.
There has been more anger in recent weeks after several women alleged they were given hysterectomies without their consent while detained by ICE.