OpenAI CEO says Muslim tech workers fear retaliation for speaking out

OpenAI CEO says Muslim tech workers fear retaliation for speaking out
  • PublishedJanuary 7, 2024

Sam Altman called on the tech sector to have more “empathy” for Muslim, Arab, “and especially palestinian” colleagues amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

The chief executive of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, one of the most powerful startups in the world, said in a post on X that Muslim, Arab and Palestinian colleagues in the tech community that he has spoken with “feel uncomfortable speaking about their recent experiences, often out of fear of retaliation and damaged career prospects.”

“Our industry should be united in our support of these colleagues; it is an atrocious time,” Altman wrote.

He added that he continues to “hope for a real and lasting peace.” But said that in the meantime, “we can treat each other with empathy.”

His comments come nearly three months since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants that left some 1,200 dead in Israel.

They also come as the death toll from Israel’s counteroffensive attacks has now left 22,600 people dead in Gaza, according to the latest tally from the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry.

The ongoing carnage in Gaza has deeply divided the American public.

Advocacy groups have reported a sharp uptick in both anti-Semitic and Islamophobic discourse online, some of which has also been linked to real-world violence.

Across college campuses and corporate America, meanwhile, protests and debates have erupted that have resulted in some people losing their jobs or being doxxed and threatened.

In response to a reply to his post asking about how his Jewish colleagues were doing, Altman said, “i am jewish. i believe that antisemitism is a significant and growing problem in the world, and i see a lot of people in our industry sticking up for me, which i deeply appreciate.”

Altman continued: “i see much less of that for muslims.”


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