Jesse Powell, the CEO and founder of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, told the Fox Business Network on Friday that any “woke” employees who stay with his company “will be managed out the hard way” because he doesn’t “tolerate that kind of behavior.”
Powell recently sparked an internal culture war at Kraken when he published a 31-page manifesto detailing the company’s “libertarian philosophical values” and devotion to “diversity of thought.” He has also challenged and questioned employees’ use of preferred pronouns, debated over “who can refer to another person as the N-word,” and said questions about female intelligence compared to men’s were “not as settled as one might have initially thought.”
Despite the crypto market going through a severe downturn, with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies having lost significant value, Powell has insisted that Kraken will continue to hire. “Krakenites,” he claims, can request or deny “personal language and communication preferences of each other,” give each other “the benefit of the doubt,” and will never “call someone’s words toxic, hateful, racist, x-phobic, unhelpful, etc.”
At the same time, though, he has actively sought to push out employees who he says are a “bad fit” with the company’s ethos. In a recent Twitter thread, Powell highlighted “20 people” who “sap the productivity out of another 400” because they’re “triggered” by “first world problems” such as pronoun use and “whether differences in human sex exist at all.”
During a Friday appearance on Varney and Co., Powell touted his decision to offer any “woke” employees who disagreed with the company’s values four months of pay—as long as they agreed to never work for him again.
Agreeing with anchor Stuart Varney’s assessment that Kraken is “under attack from the inside,” Powell said that many of his employees were “losing a lot of time arguing with these people and getting into therapy sessions with them.” He added that it caused “such a drain” that the company decided “these people might be better off somewhere else,” thus offering them a severance plan to “sail off into the sunset.”
The Kraken chief executive claimed that 30 staffers have taken him up on the deal, citing the company’s “mission-related reasons” for quitting and accepting the severance package.
“What do you do if they don’t leave and they stay within the company passing around what you might call poison and poisoning the atmosphere of the workplace?” Varney asked.
Powell declared that the company would do what was necessary to push out these “triggered” employees.
“Great question. And there will be people who stay behind that want to push their agenda,” Powell responded. “But I want everyone to know this is not going to be a workplace where we tolerate that kind of behavior, and people will be managed out the hard way if that is what it takes.”
The conservative Fox host, meanwhile, applauded Powell for “taking a hard line on this” before wondering if the libertarian crypto bro had taken any criticism for his position. Acknowledging that he has been criticized, Powell asserted that “99 percent of the company just wants to do great work” before parroting the right-wing mantra that “when you go woke, you go broke.”
Varney’s interview wasn’t the only sympathetic Fox appearance for Powell on Friday. During an earlier sitdown with Fox & Friends, Powell reiterated that if any employees didn’t align with Kraken’s culture and values they should quit and “pursue the next chapter of their career.”
He also complained to Fox & Friends about the New York Times’ extensive report on the culture war he’s stoked within the company, which noted how he called American women “brainwashed” while questioning their intelligence.
“The New York Times’ hit piece completely cherry-picked little snippets of text out of weeks’ worth of conversations,” he groused, labeling it a “complete misrepresentation” of his remarks.
“Obviously I don’t think women are of any lesser intelligence than men,” Powell added while boasting about the company’s diversity.
The Daily Beast