Native Instruments Facing Allegations of Racism Within the Company

Native Instruments
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Native Instruments
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Photo Credit: Ricardo Abreu

Current and former Native Instruments employees are speaking out against racism — either witnessed or experienced.

Several former employees are speaking out on LinkedIn against the music hardware company. At least one current employee and several DJs are asking Native Instruments to take action. DJs include Midland, Pariah, Peder Mannerfelt, Caribou, and SG Lewis.

Jessy Halison worked as a QA Engineer at Native Instruments’ Berlin office from 2015 to 2018. She first spoke out about her experience with the company after Native Instruments released a statement on racial injustice.

“We stand in solidarity with everyone fighting against racism and social injustice in our society,” the statement begins. Native Instruments also announced a $50,000 donation to the NAACP Defense Fund with the statement. Halison says: “I just couldn’t stay silent when Native Instruments is trying to paint a portrait of a supportive brand.”

“We speak about the brand who released a campaign with the N-word, despite warning and calls in from their (black and brown female) employees. Who lied to them, by saying they would amend it not to be racist and conscious about the impact, but released it without changing a single thing. [Native Instruments] didn’t protect said employees from racist comments on discussion channels when the subject was brought up, who told them that they would have no issues advertising artists using other slur names. Who never apologized to them.”

Halison’s allegations reference a 2017 promotion for the Maschine instrument. That Native Instruments advertisement featured Principe and DJ N-Fox.

Another former employee, Soraya Brouwer, further outlined some things she witnessed while at the company. She worked in artist relations at NI from 2016 to 2019. She says she routinely saw white colleagues freely using the N-word when referring to the campaign. Brouwer also says no Black people were consulted or involved in the process of setting up the campaign.

These allegations eventually attracted the attention of CEO Daniel Haver, and he responded.

“I appreciate you speaking up and creating a transparent and public discussion on this topic. First, I apologize deeply for your experience as a Native employee during this time and take your feedback extremely seriously. While we have always considered diversity and inclusion as an integral part of how NI operates, we have, in the past, let our unconscious bias make us overlook the realities of POC employees. The campaign you bring up is a fitting example of this,” Haver writes.

The whole statement smacks of trying to smooth racism over, rather than listen to former Native instruments employees. That’s the take-away Halison has on LinkedIn, too.

“I have several questions that I shared that remain unanswered, and I urge Daniel Haver to respond to all questions asked in the LinkedIn thread publicly. More importantly, has Native Instruments ever asked itself why POC generally don’t stick around at the company or settle down in senior positions?”

More as this develops.

2 Responses

  1. Dzny

    They are also intellectual property theives and I am happy to back that up as the person who conceived one of their top products.

    • Jonah

      That claim has to extend to Uli Behringer, as well.