Altman feels Muslims in tech should be able to express opinion without fear

  • January 6, 2024

In the midst of talks about the conflict between Israel and Gaza, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has voiced worries about the lack of support for Muslim and Palestinian tech workers in the field. Since Altman is Jewish and works in technology, he said that he has seen more support for Jewish coworkers than for Muslim and Palestinian coworkers. He was upset and said that Muslim and Palestinian tech workers often don’t talk about their problems because they’re afraid of being punished or having their jobs hurt. Altman asked everyone in the tech industry to come together and help these coworkers through what he called a “atrocious time.”

Altman wrote on Twitter, “Muslim and Arab (especially Palestinian) coworkers in the tech community i’ve talked to feel uncomfortable talking about their recent experiences, often out of fear of retaliation and hurt career prospects.” Our whole business should come together to help these coworkers; this is a terrible time. When asked about his Jewish coworkers, Altman stressed that he sees more support in the business world against racism than support for Muslims. The tech industry has had a hard time keeping employees from talking about the war between Israel and Gaza. Some companies have even deleted Slack messages and had problems with freedom of speech.

Even with these worries, Altman said he hoped for real and lasting peace and stressed how important it was to be kind to each other during the fight. Tech companies like Apple and Google have had trouble keeping their staff from talking about the war between Israel and Gaza. Paddy Cosgrave, an Irish businessman and co-founder of Web Summit, also got flak and resignations over claims against Israel, which made big companies like Intel and Stripe less likely to attend.