The founder and former CEO of Black Girls Code, a multi-million dollar nonprofit that promotes the education of technology among Black girls and women, is being sued by her brainchild for “unlawful highjacking” of the company’s website. In the beginning of this month, Kimberly Bryant was removed from her position by the company’s board.
According to the lawsuit, Bryant who was terminated Aug. 12 is being accused of “Inappropriate action” following her removal. The complaint, which was filed by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that Bryant’s workplace misconduct includes wiring the organization’s website to redirect users to a press release named “Save Black Girls Code.” It’s alleged that all of the primary domains, including blackgirlscode.com, blackgirlscode.org, blackgirlscode.site and blackgirlscode.net, have all been highjacked.
“Days after her termination, Bryant caused administrative credentials to be used to hijack BGC’s website,” the lawsuit states, “… which displayed a self-serving press release that discloses BGC’s confidential and privileged information.”
As reported: in Inc. Magazine
Black Girls Code, which provides training opportunities in digital technology for Black girls ages 7 to 17, largely operates through donations and rapidly grew during the pandemic; it received about $1.5 million in donations through 2019, compared with $30 million by the close of 2021, the lawsuit claims. Bryant alleges that this rapid growth led board member Heather Hiles to take on a more active role at Black Girls Code.
Hiles “sought to capitalize on BGC’s growth and increased funding for her own personal gain,” alleges Bryant in legal filings. Bryant claims that Hiles attempted to arrange a partnership between the e-learning platform Udemy, where Hiles is a director, ahead of Udemy’s IPO, and that Hiles impeded the establishment of an endowment, with the intention of diverting the funds to a venture capital firm where Hiles also serves as a managing partner. Hiles did not respond to a request for comment regarding the allegations.
A spoke’s person for Black Girls Codes says that Bryant’s removal was the best decision for the company and their employees, as they are actively implementing an expansion.
In a statement, Bryant deems these accusations to be false and “without merit” and plans to vigorously defend herself.
“The allegations in Ms. Bryant’s lawsuit are false, and BGC intends to vigorously defend itself against those claims,” said BGC in a statement to Inc. Magazine. “The Board believes the decision to remove Ms. Bryant as CEO and as a board member is in the best interests of the organization, the girls it serves, its employees, and its donors. BGC has been focusing its efforts on moving forward and expanding on the success of the organization since its inception.”
Bryant was put on administrative paid leave in December of 2021 after two employees resigned alleging that Bryant’s leadership style left them rooted in fear.
Bryant is currently seeking to have her position restored.