Hootsuite Fires Whistleblower Employee Who Revealed Its $1.5 Million Deal with ICE

Hootsuite has fired its whistleblower employee who disclosed about the company’s $1.5 million deal with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in social media.

After some lengthy posts in September, Sam Anderson shared in Twitter on October 6 that she is no longer with the company, although it was not her decision to leave the company.Hootsuite logo(Photo : Hootsuite)
Hootsuite logo

“As of yesterday morning, I am no longer employed by Hootsuite,”Anderson said adding that she is no longer sure what she can and cannot say about her departure, “but I assume it’s fair to say (and also probably obvious) that it was not my decision to leave.”

In September Anderson slammed her former employer for “eagerly accepting money from” from the agency which is allegedly subjecting female immigrant detainees to forced hysterectomies, locking children in cages, and separating families apart. She added that the company’s decision to deal with ICE “is devastating and disgusting in a way that I can’t effectively put into words.”

 She also shared how ICE “targeted or harassed” the Hootsuite support team in Mexico. A day after a public outcry, the Vancouver-based company said it already terminated the discussions about the $1.5 million three-year contract with ICE on September 24.

This was after its own staff pressured the company to cancel the deal because of the U.S. immigration agency’s human rights track record. Anderson also tweeted that more than 100 Hootsuite workers had been “extremely vocal in their opposition to this deal.”

Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser released a statement on Twitter that explained the company’s decision over the deal with agency that “sparked a great deal of internal conversation.” Keiser shared that the company decided to sign a contract with ICE after considering various factors such as the power of social engagement and communications to break down barriers. The deal was also supported by a set of objective guidelines that a committee has developed.

However, the CEO noted that the company received “emotional and passionate reaction from our people” this week. Also, the decision has also divided the company,” which Keiser said “is not the kind of company” that he came to lead. “As a result, we have decided to not proceed with the deal with ICE,” Keiser said.

Read also: Homeland Security Used Surveillance Drones and Helicopters to Monitor George Floyd Protests

ICE controversies

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was created in 2003 after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. The agency is one of three offices that assumed the functions of the now defunct United States Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. It now employs more than 20,000 people.Families buried under layers of Trump immigration policies in Jordan(Photo : REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)
Amer, an Iraqi refugee who is waiting in Jordan for U.S. resettlement, poses outside of his home on the outskirts of the capital Amman, Jordan, September 14, 2020. Picture taken September 14, 2020.

Some politicians and activists were calling for the ICE’s abolition as the immigration agency was scrutinized for its tactics under the current administration, which include separating migrant families and locking up children in cages.

In mid-September, ICE nurse Dawn Wooten filed a complaint against how women were treated at an ICE detention center in Georgia. She revealed about a concerning high number of gynecological procedures, which include hysterectomies, performed on immigrant detainees. Wooten accused ICE’s main physician Dr. Mahendra Amin of performing these invasive surgeries.

House immigration subcommittee vice chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal said in a statement that at least 17 detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center were subjected to unnecessary gynecological procedures, which are often without proper consent. Jayapal expressed that the initial reports have become painfully clear as they “are likely part of a pattern of conduct.”

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