Employees for Amazon’s Ring home security company wore Native American costumes, including face paint, at a staff party in 2017, a new report claims.
Amazon purchased the doorbell camera company for $1 billion in 2018 and has since partnered with more than 600 law enforcement agencies around the country that can request footage from Ring’s network of private surveillance cameras — sparking concerns about racial profiling.
Now, the company’s internal culture is under fire after photos of white staff wearing costumes of Native and Indigenous Americans with face paint and tribal headdresses at a party in September 2017 were made public by Vice website Motherboard.
In the album, titled “Wild West Party in Ring Labs,” other employees were seen in shirts emblazoned with “F–K CRIME” and “IN MACHINE LEARNING WE TRUST!”
“That event is not representative of who we are as a company,” Ring said in an email to Motherboard on Wednesday. “At Ring, we strive to be an inclusive community and we’re taking action to ensure that all of Ring events reflect our values.”
The home security company has previously come under fire for allowing customers to share footage from their Ring cameras with law enforcement — with at least one lawmaker saying it would disproportionately affect people of color.
In a letter to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, Rep. Ed Markey raised concerns that the footage could “easily create a surveillance network that places dangerous burdens on people of color.”
The Motherboard report also revealed how Ring has aggressively marketed the product to law enforcement — throwing lavish parties for police officers with appearances from NBA star Shaquille O’Neal.