A senior Pentagon official said a diversity officer who tweeted derogatory comments about whites will not face workplace discipline after a lengthy internal investigation.
Defense Under Secretary for Personnel and Preparedness Gil Cisneros faced harsh grilling on the controversy from Republicans in the House Armed Services Committee at a hearing on Thursday.
Cisneros confirmed that DoDo employee Kelisa Wing will not be fired or otherwise disciplined for the tweets she wrote prior to assuming the role of director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Department of Defense Office of Educational Activities (DoDEA), who oversees the schooling of children of military families.
However, Cisneros admitted at the hearing that he found the tweets objectionable, saying in a letter that Wing was transferred to another position due to an unrelated “headquarters restructuring.”
I agree that this is not acceptable. It is not something that I would approve, and it is not approved by the DoDEA or the Department of Defense,” Cisneros told the panel.
DoDo employee Kelisa Wing was transferred during a ‘restructure’ after serving as director of diversity, equity and inclusion in the Department of Defense’s office of Educational Activities.
At the hearing, Rep. Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, forced Cisneros to read aloud one of Wing’s tweets, which used slang terms like “CAUdacity,” a portmanteau of “caucasian” and “audacity.”
“I’m exhausted with these white people in these (professional development) sessions. This lady actually had the nerve to say that black people can be racist too,” the July 2020 tweet read.
“Had to stop the session and give Karen the BUSINESS,” the tweet added, using the slang term for white women, which usually connotes entitlement and dislike.
“We are not the majority, we have no power,” Wing, who is African-American, added in the tweet.
Stefanik accused Cisneros of being slow to respond to his letters on the subject, saying that a response to his latest query had arrived just hours before the hearing.
He cisneros letter revealed that the Pentagon investigation found Wing “speaking in her personal capacity” in her tweets, and that her colleagues never heard her make similar comments at work.
“As a result, the director, DoDEA, took no disciplinary action,” the letter states, adding that “federal ethics rules allow employees to express personal views” as long as they do not purport to represent the agency for which they work, or break any laws.
Pentagon official Gil Cisneros said a diversity officer who tweeted derogatory comments about whites will not face workplace discipline after a lengthy internal investigation.
At the hearing, Rep. Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, forced Cisneros to read one of the tweets (above) aloud, which used slang terms like “CAUdacity.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik accused Cisneros of being slow to respond to her letters on the issue, saying a response to her latest query had arrived just hours before the hearing.
Wing, an Army veteran, had worked at the DoD for 16 years and was promoted to DoDEA DEI chief in December 2021.
“Separately, as part of a headquarters restructuring, the employee was reassigned to another position that does not include specific diversity, equity and inclusion responsibilities,” the letter added.
The controversy first arose in September, when Fox News resurfaced some of Wing’s tweets, before he took over the lead diversity role at DoDEA.
In other posts, he has referred to Donald Trump as the “kid version of Karen” and his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, as “the queen of Karens.”
He responded to a user’s complaint about ‘white nonsense’ in education by tweeting: ‘If another Karen tells me her feelings…I might lose control…’
Wing, an Army veteran, had worked at the DoD for 16 years and was promoted to DoDEA chief of DEI in December 2021.
The office oversees the education of the children of civilian Pentagon employees as well as military service members deployed abroad.