A former Snap employee says she emailed over 1,000 engineers at the company on her last day to highlight a ‘toxic’ and ‘sexist’ work culture

Snapchat has come under fire internally for what has been described as a

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Snapchat has come under fire internally for what has been described as a “toxic” culture.
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Dado Ruvic/Reuters

  • In a memo sent to about 1,300 Snap employees and obtained by Cheddar, a former Snap engineer described what she says was a “toxic” and “sexist” company culture.
  • The email was sent on the employee’s last day of work. The writer of the email was recently interviewed about her decision to send the email.
  • Snap says it’s already working to improve company culture and diversity, but acknowledged that “we certainly have more work to do.”

A former Snap employee highlighted her qualms with what she described as Snap’s “toxic” and “sexist” culture in an email sent to about 1,300 people on her last day of work, Cheddar’s Alex Heath reports.

Shannon Lubetich, who worked in Snap’s software engineering department, sent the email last November. The email focused on the many ways an engineer could be described – with phrases including “A person who takes more than 2 days off when their child is born,” “isn’t straight,” and “who doesn’t drink Red Bull or alcohol” – and mentioned that while not everyone would fit that description, “it’s not fine if you think, consciously or subconsciously, that these traits prevent you from being a good engineer.”

After it was sent, the email reportedly sparked a company-wide internal discussion. In an on-the-record interview with Cheddar, Lubetich described how employees, parties, and company culture combined into a “pervading sexist vibe” at Snap.

Snap began unconscious bias training last year, which is mandatory for all employees, and some leaders in the company responded internally to the email. Jerry Hunter, who was vice president of core engineering at the time, responded to the email, saying “I’d … like everyone on this thread to understand that I take inclusion at Snapchat very seriously,” and “I know many of you are doing work to make Snap better.”

In a statement to Cheddar, Hunter wrote: “We’ve worked hard to make Snap a place where everyone feels respected and everyone can grow. I’m excited about the progress that we have made this year, but know that we certainly have more work to do.”

Hunter also sent an email to Snap employees on Tuesday following the publication of Lubetich’s email, which Cheddar also was able to obtain.

You can read more about the email and its impact in the full report on Cheddar, which details:

  • Descriptions of company parties and after-work events that Lubetich said created a toxic culture.
  • Descriptions of low morale for Snap employees.
  • The full email sent by Lubetich.
  • Internal responses from Snap executives in response to the email.