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Hootsuite whistleblower fired after revealing company's dealings with ICE

Last Updated Oct 6, 2020 at 3:23 pm PDT

FILE - Hootsuite's owl mascots are shown in the company's cabin-themed office in Vancouver in a handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Hootsuite)
Summary

The Hootsuite employee who blew the whistle on the company's talks with ICE has been fired

The Vancouver-based company came under pressure by its own staff last month to cancel the contract with ICE

Sam Anderson says she's no longer with the company and it wasn't her choice to leave

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The Hootsuite employee who blew the whistle on the company’s talks with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been fired.

In a tweet, Sam Anderson says she’s no longer with the company and it wasn’t her choice to leave.

“As of yesterday morning, I am no longer employed by Hootsuite. I’m not sure what I can and can’t say about my departure, but I assume it’s fair to say (and also probably obvious) that it was not my decision to leave,” she says in the tweet.

The Vancouver-based company came under pressure by its own staff last month to cancel a contract with ICE, because of the American immigration agency’s track record on human rights.

Hootsuite later said it terminated talks on the three-year, $1.5 million contract.

READ ALSO: Vancouver’s Hootsuite cancels ICE contract following staff revolt

The immigration agency drew scrutiny – with some activists and politicians calling for its abolition – in recent years for its tactics under the Trump administration, including separating migrant families and putting children in cages.

Last month, Anderson said in a tweet more than 100 of her coworkers had been “extremely vocal in their opposition to this deal.”

Afterwards, Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser released a statement, indicating contract talks with the agency “sparked a great deal of internal conversation – and the formation of a committee to further that discussion and consider all points of view.

“Considering the various factors, including our belief in the power of communications and social engagement to break down barriers, and supported by the set of objective guidelines that emerged from the committee, we made the decision to proceed with signing a contract with ICE,” he said.

But the “emotional and passionate reaction from our people” this week led to more dialog, Keiser added. “The decision has created a divided company and this is not the kind of company I came to lead. I – and the rest of the management team – share the concerns our people have expressed. As a result, we have decided to not proceed with the deal with ICE.”

–with files from Kelvin Gawley.