Professional service firm Ernst and Young (EY) has been slammed for a "tone-deaf" and "offensive" tweet which asked about LGBTQ inclusion in business.
EY's international news Twitter account @EY_news shared a video and poll in a tweet on Friday to raise awareness of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
The video noted that everyone is unique and shaped by their backgrounds, cultures, experiences and different perspectives make businesses stronger.
But commenters on social media took aim at the tweet's poll which asked: "What is the principal reason why LGBT+ inclusion is important for business?"
The potential answers were:
- Improves performance
- Helps attract talent
- Fosters innovation
- Reduces employee turnover
Commenters said businesses shouldn't be inclusive to help their business - they should do it because "it's simply the right thing to do".
"Hey @EY_NewZealand, this tweet from @EYnews was promoted to me over the weekend," one commenter said.
"It’s tone-deaf, insensitive and to be frank; just plain offensive. LGBT+ inclusion should be important to business because it’s the right thing to do, that's it. Care to comment?
"[It] is not a tool to 'reduce employee turnover' or 'improve performance'... Your tweet is offensive and you should apologise."
Another commenter called the tweet "patronising". Others questioned why a prospective employee's sexuality should be shared at all.
"Why is an prospective employee's sexuality even an issue? Does this mean that employers actually ask abut (sic) their job applicants' sexual leanings? That's surely a very intrusive question," one person said.
"A person’s sexuality/ identity shouldn’t even figure in an interview," another wrote.
In a statement to Newshub, EY's Oceania People Partner Kate Hillman said the tweet was made to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) 2021.
"As part of our ongoing commitment to enabling the unique contribution brought by every person at EY, we organised a global campaign that would encourage conversation and share the diverse perspectives of our LGBT+ people around the world," she said.
"The tweet associated with our campaign had positive intentions and was aimed at providing a talking point for our community and highlight some of the motivations between LGBT+ inclusion work, as we acknowledge that creating inclusive environments for LGBT+ people is indeed the right thing to do.
"Our goal is to create an environment where our LGBT+ people can connect, collaborate and contribute to an inclusive workplace and society."