“So far I have decided not to respond because I wanted to stay focused,” Hills said in a press briefing. “Although it has gotten to a point where I feel I must speak up.”
Bryant, who was indefinitely suspended from BGC in December 2021, said Hills, interim board chairman and founder of edtech company Pathbright, led the suspension efforts “without a fair investigation or proven allegations”. The allegations of employees – backed by multiple interviews conducted by TechCrunch with BGC sources – included Bryant misrepresenting a staff member and creating a toxic work environment. Bryant has repeatedly denied these claims, saying that his final investigation did not find any information supporting these allegations.
Earlier this month, Bryant was officially fired. Bryant issued a statement about his ouster, describing the board’s move as an “unfortunate culmination of a hostile takeover” by The Hills. The same statement alleges that Hills “seeks to gain control of more than $30 million dollars in donated philanthropic money.”
At the press briefing, Hills called Bryant’s claims “false and malicious”, adding that she is a volunteer board member – meaning she does not get paid for her work on the BGC board.
Hills said in a LinkedIn post, “I have never attempted to manage or use any BGC assets, nor have I ever tried to direct the investment of BGC assets to any entity venture – Which would personally benefit me.” Briefing. “I never took nor expected a single penny in compensation.”
In the same post, Hills addressed Bryant’s claim that he added BGC to Udemy as a partner so that Udemy, for which Hills serves as a board member, would benefit financially. Hills claims that Udemy was interested in providing services to the BGC at no cost, which she believes would increase revenue and access for girls in the organization.
At the press briefing, Hills addressed Bryant’s initial claim that he had been suspended from the company “by a rogue board without notice.”
“We did this because she was trying and preventing outside third parties from actually investigating workplace complaints,” Hills said during the call. “And we couldn’t think of or find another way to investigate while we were in that role … so we felt like we had no other choice.” Hills later said that Bryant had “a lot of heads up and an awareness of what was going on.”
Bryant responded to Hills’ new comments in a text message to TechCrunch, which noted three lawsuits:
“I have no intention of prosecuting this matter in a court of public opinion. I intend to bring these issues to a court of law and exercise my First Amendment rights based on due process and based on facts and evidence, not opinions or personal attacks. My work and legacy stand now and forever in their own right and I am grateful for the overwhelming support of the community that has supported and uplifted me throughout this journey. ,
In the most recent lawsuit on the matter, filed Monday, the BGC alleged that its domains — which include blackgirlscode.com, blackgirlscode.org, blackgirlscode.site and blackgirlscode.net — were “hijacked” by Bryant. As of the time of publication all domains redirect to saveblackgirlscode.com. Meanwhile, Bryant said the latest allegations against him are false and that the domain has been under his control since 2011.
As for the future of Black Girls Code and if a rebrand is in the works, Hills said “all options are on the table.” Since Black Girls Code still does not control the blackgirlscode.com domain website, it is unclear whether the nonprofit will need to rebrand or pursue other options.
“It’s been really disappointing to see so much of this fall,” Hills said. “I would like to point out that over time, many other board members have resigned in our final year of the board. And so it has created the pool of people who are willing to remain accountable for the future of operations and Black Girls Code is just a small group. Hills declined to comment on whether any board members have resigned since Bryant’s ouster.
Hills declined to comment further on whether a chief executive search was underway, but said donor support remained “firm.”