Former CEO Kimberly Bryant was removed from the organization she founded, Black Girls Code. Bryant alleged board member Heather Hiles (they/them) was trying to steal the website from her, according to NBC News. After lawsuits filed on both sides, Hiles finally responded to share their two cents.
Black Girls Code actually filed a suit against Bryant for the same thing she’s accusing Hiles of: taking over the website. Per their suit, Bryant caused administrative credentials to be used to hijack the organization’s website. They’re referring to how the organization’s site now redirects users to a press release, supporting Bryant’s claim of wrongful termination. Bryant has gone to social media and released statements to various news outlets explaining how she plans on defending herself against the allegations.
However, one of the main characters named in Bryant’s lawsuit, Hiles, has just recently responded to the chaos.
From Heather Hiles’ statement via LinkedIn:
I first want to make clear that the decisions I have made as a member of the board of Black Girls CODE have been based on what I believed was best for the organization and its stakeholders. I believe the actions that were taken with respect to Ms. Bryant were appropriate and necessary to responsibly protect Black Girls CODE and its mission. I also believe Ms. Bryant’s ongoing actions since her termination, which are knowingly causing harm to the organization that she built, demonstrate a lack of judgment and validate the decisions I made as a member of the board.
First, I am not trying to take over BGC. I am a volunteer board member, and I have worked for more than 30 years to build up Black and underserved people, in part by creating greater learning and training opportunities. My interest in joining the BGC board was an opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of young Black girls who are very much like I was when I was young. I have founded several successful organizations in my career - both for-profit and non-profit corporations and I have no need nor desire to take over BGC or diminish Ms. Bryant’s credit as a founder. As an investor, director, and advisor, I am profoundly sensitive to the rights of founders and keenly aware of the unique challenges that founders face especially those who are women of color.
I am disappointed that Ms. Bryant has felt the need to attack me by making such false and outrageous claims, and I would have preferred for this to not become personal and rise to a level that is causing harm to BGC. I hope that the organization will soon be able to move past these issues and restore its full focus on why it was founded in the first place.
“It is certainly our intention and my intention as the founder of this organization … that I be rightfully put back in place,” Bryant told NBC News. “It pains me deeply.” Other Black women CEO’s have rallied behind Bryant, sharing their support via social media.
It seems both sides of this story aren’t wavering in their arguments. We may not know who’s wrong or right until they get to court. At the end of the day, the burden of this case falls on the Black girls they serve.