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GitHub Apologizes for Secrecy Around Harassment Allegations

"We failed to admit and own up to our mistakes, and for that I'm sorry."

GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath today apologized for the company’s secrecy around gender-based harassment allegations that led to the president resigning.

The company’s initial statement last week cleared former president Tom Preston-Werner, while leaving the reasons for his departure ambiguous. In a dramatic change of tone today, Wanstrath apologized for the statement and went into more detail about the independent investigator, Rhoma Young, and what GitHub is doing internally.

Three interesting points from the statement:

  1. “Tom Preston-Werner in his capacity as GitHub’s CEO acted inappropriately, including confrontational conduct, disregard of workplace complaints, insensitivity to the impact of his spouse’s presence in the workplace, and failure to enforce an agreement that his spouse should not work in the office.”
  2. “Rhoma found nothing to support a sexist or discriminatory environment at GitHub.”
  3. The tone of GitHub’s response has gone from defensive to super apologetic.

From today’s statement: “Last Monday I published the least open and least transparent blog post GitHub has ever written. We failed to admit and own up to our mistakes, and for that I’m sorry. GitHub has a reputation for being transparent and taking responsibility for our actions, but last week we did neither. There’s no excuse. We can do a lot better.”

Rhoma Young could not be reached for comment.

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