An internal investigation at Reformation, the clothing brand best known for its expensive flowy dresses with puffy sleeves often seen on the frames of slim (and usually white) influencers, has found that the company’s workplace culture is “not racist.”
“We did not find the Reformation workplace culture to be racist,” the report states. “Nor did we find that its former CEO — or, furthermore, that its current CEO — are racist.”
How...... convenient. And a direct contrast to the account from former Reformation employee Elle Santiago earlier this year.
After Reformation joined countless other brands in making a lackluster post in June about the nationwide protests surrounding police violence against Black people, Santiago came forward with a post sharing her experiences working for the brand. Santiago talked about being turned down for promotions in favor of white employees, and incidents of discrimination she experienced and witnessed at the company—including when she once saw the founder and now-ex CEO Yael Aflalo turn away a Black model, saying “We’re not ready for that yet.”
“The foundation at Reformation is rotted in prejudice and poor leadership,” Santiago wrote in an email to Business Insider in June. “Accountability goes for everyone who plays a role in the mistreatment of others. Employers need to take real responsibility for how they affect not only the livelihood but also the spirit of their employees.”
The internal company investigation, conducted by the Chicago-based law firm, Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP, interviewed 47 employees and determined that a number of the workplace issues were caused by a lack of transparency, inadequate HR support, and a “cliquish” culture that led to mean and exclusive behavior.
While the report acknowledged personal issues between employees and Aflalo, it stated “employees who commented on this subject said that they do not believe that Ms. Aflalo is racist,” noting that “various employees of all racial backgrounds reported, in similar fashion, that she had treated them in ways that were upsetting to them.”
It seems as though they’re trying to frame it as though the toxic workplace culture and discrimination wasn’t actually as bad as it could’ve been because, well, at least it wasn’t racially motivated! It’s clear they’ve missed the point here.
Reformation has also “engaged a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant to initiate foundational learning on these important topics,” according to the report.
Well, if we know anything by now, it’s that all it takes to change a toxic workplace culture is a couple of diversity and inclusion trainings! Phew, racism SOLVED.