June 23, 2011 Mr. John Chambers Office of the President Cisco Systems, Inc. Mail Stop SJC10/5/4 300 East Tasman Drive San Jose, California 95134
Dear Mr. Chambers:
I am deeply disappointed that I have not yet heard back from you in reference to your company’s firing of Dr. Frank Turek. I know that many of my readers are interested in hearing a direct response from you. I also regret that I must write to you with additional concerns about possible systematic religious and political discrimination at Cisco.
Those additional concerns stem from statements made by Ms. Marilyn Nagel, your Senior Director of Inclusion and Diversity. Dr. Turek spoke with her recently by phone regarding his firing—a firing that was not based on his work but on his religious and political beliefs.
To her credit, Ms. Nagel apologized for the firing of Dr. Turek. Dr. Turek was told that he could apply for another job with Cisco, but that there are “no guarantees.” (Translation: he can always buy a lottery ticket). Of course, there are no guarantees winning the lottery. And I think Frank’s chances of winning the lottery are better than getting hired back by a company that is trying to cover its backside while appeasing the Gaystapo.
But to her greater discredit, Ms. Nagel not only refused to do anything to address the cultural factors that contributed to the firing, she refused to even consider the possibility that the Cisco culture was decidedly tilted toward intolerant political correctness—the soil from which the firing sprouted.
Ms. Nagel was made aware of the fact that I was present on that call to make a record of what I heard over the speakerphone. Below I have reprinted portions of that conversation. The portions in italics are the unaltered words of Ms. Nagel. My un-italicized comments are interspersed between hers.
Our culture is very welcoming of all points of view. We don’t have any particular political perspective on the issues of same-sex marriage or any of the other issues.
I was encouraged to hear this from Ms. Nagel. But if that’s true, as Dr. Turek asked, “How could a Cisco leader and a seasoned HR professional possibly think its right to fire someone for his conservative political or religious beliefs on same sex marriage unless the Cisco culture has become drastically tilted toward political correctness?”
Ms. Nagel refused to answer the question directly and denied the culture was tilted. Instead, she offered an endless stream of platitudes about how inclusive and diverse the Cisco culture is.
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