The Wing’s former CEO Audrey Gelman posted a letter that she sent to previous employees of the female-oriented coworking firm last week.
In the letter, Gelman, who resigned in June, apologized for not protecting the women of color who faced poor treatment at the company.
She added that her desire to be successful and scale quickly cost the company a healthy culture that reflected the firm’s core values.
She also said that The Wing had done a poor job in tackling the systemic racism that has roots in the hospitality industry. Rather, they camouflaged it in pastel pinks.
“Members’ needs came first, and those members were often white, and affluent enough to afford The Wing’s membership dues,” said Gelman. “White privilege and power trips were rewarded with acquiescence, as opposed to us doubling down on our projected values.”
She expressed that The Wing reinforced the institutional inequality that women of color, namely Black women, face in the workplace.
The company’s insincere portrayal of intersectional feminism led former staffers to form the Flew the Coup group, in which they demanded a public apology from Gelman and COO Lauren Kassan.
“Collectively, we have faced racism and anti-LGBTQIA rhetoric from management, HQ staff, and members,” the group wrote on Instagram in June. “We have faced physical and psychological violence within the various Wing locations, and discrimination when attempting to move up within the company.”
The group is now raising money for those who have been laid off from The Wing in recent months, with a goal of raising $100,000.