Black Girls Code sues ousted founder for alleged website 'hijacking' - TechCrunch

Black Girls Code filed a lawsuit Monday claiming to be its founder Kimberly BryantWho was it removed from her role as board member and CEO earlier this month “hijacked” the nonprofit’s website.

The heart of the complaint, which was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, is over control of the Black Girls Code website. The complaint alleges that Bryant “engaged in a series of inappropriate actions following her termination, including illegally hijacking BGC’s website and redirecting site visitors to her own website, making several false and misleading statements.”

The lawsuit is the latest in an intensifying legal and corporate battle between Bryant, who founded the nonprofit in 2011 to diversify the coding landscape, and the board she appointed. Bryant filed his own federal lawsuit Aug. 11 alleging wrongful termination and a conflict of interest by board member Heather Hyles.

In that lawsuit, filed Monday, BGC claims its domains — including,, and — all redirect to at the time of publication. This website offers a memo detailing Bryant’s aforementioned federal case, including her attorney’s contact information.

Bryant declined to comment on the new set of charges when reached for comment.

Trouble first surfaced in December 2021, when Bryant said she was denied access to her email, which she eventually learned was the result of the nonprofit suspending her indefinitely from its board. At the time, the board told TechCrunch that Bryant had been placed on paid administrative leave to address complaints against her.

The board’s allegations — bolstered by multiple interviews conducted by TechCrunch with former BGC employees — include that Bryant misgendered a staff member and created a toxic work environment. Bryant denied those allegations. The board told TechCrunch in December that it would form a special committee to investigate the aforementioned allegations, but declined to provide a specific timeline.

Bryant would lose his job eight months later.

Black Girls Code terminated Bryant on August 12. Bryant tweeted back, saying she was “wrongfully removed” and had “no reason or opportunity to participate in voting on these actions.”

Days later, she tweeted that she had not been offered severance, health care or vacation pay to which she is legally entitled in California, where BGC is based.

“Sound like revenge?” she tweeted about the lack of separation. A spokesperson for Black Girls Code said Bryant was paid her accrued vacation time in accordance with California law, but declined to comment on the severance and health care allegations.

In a statement provided to TechCrunch last week, a spokesperson for Black Girls Code said the group “believes that the decision to remove Ms. Bryant as CEO and as a board member is in the best interest of the organization, the girls, who it serves, its employees, and its donors. BGC has focused its efforts on advancing and expanding the success of the organization since its inception.” The same spokesperson sent a newly filed complaint earlier today.

TechCrunch was unable to access Black Girls Code’s website last week when the nonprofit tweeted that his website was down. The complaint offers a different angle on the matter: “Since being placed on paid leave in December, Bryant has attempted to harm BGC by (among other things) refusing to relinquish control of BGC’s property and assets, including administrative data for the website of BGC, claiming and treating them as their own despite clear ownership of the organization.’

The nonprofit alleges that Bryant’s conduct violated federal and state laws and “caused irreparable harm to BGC’s operations and mission in the community.” The alleged takeover wouldn’t be entirely unusual: Marceau Michel, the founder of Black Founders Matter, cut off his company colleagues’ access to the website when he was told to resign. Ultimately, the team created new emails, designed a new website, and rebranded to an entirely new fund.

In the complaint, BGC says the website was operated and controlled by the nonprofit, but claims Bryant used her daughter’s email account when the website was first created in 2011. “Such control gives the person or persons the ability to change , delete or otherwise alter the content, operation or existence of the website,” the suit says.

Black Girls Code’s complaint says the nonprofit is “taking steps to restore its online presence” and is using its Twitter account for correspondence in the meantime. The nonprofit says it served more girls this summer than in previous years and “has never been in a stronger position.”

In the lawsuit, BGC requested a jury trial. A BGC spokesman declined further comment.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *