Wu was elected to the board of directors in 2019. On September 2, Axios obtained an e-mail — dated June 16, 2020 — in which the tech and apparel investor disparaged Black Lives Matter and claimed she wasn't aware of Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Galveston, Texas.
"I don’t believe in Black Lives Matter," Wu reportedly wrote in an e-mail addressing the news that Hone Capital, the venture capital firm where she worked as managing partner, would recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday.
"If anything I think they are the true racists trying to stir up things to make this country going to socialism or even communism potentially."
In a truly baffling and poorly worded comparison, she proclaimed that "if we judge racism by requiring every job has to be based on racial proportion vs. merits, then NBA should not have so many black players. I don't see anyone complaining about that."
According to a statement on VF Corp's website, Wu's exit "was not the result of any disagreement with VF on any matter relating to VF’s operations, policies or practices," a roundabout way of not addressing whether Wu's resignation had anything to do with her problematic rhetoric. (Interesting, considering that CEO Steve Rendle previously claimed that "racism is not welcome at VF Corporation.")
A rep for VF Corp said via e-mail that they wouldn't offer "any comments beyond what's in the news release."
If Wu's e-mail hadn't been leaked, she'd likely still sit on the board of VF Corp, a hugely influential entity in the streetwear space — which, it bears repeating, was built by Black creatives.
A former Hone Capital employee alleged that Wu's racism wasn't anything new. "She would say 'the reason you don't see African Americans in tech is because they're lazy and don't work,'" the anonymous source told Axios. How was Wu able to climb the corporate ladder while espousing such offensive beliefs?
Wu's ascension to VF Corp goes to show that, despite the steps the industry has taken to become more inclusive, racism lurks behind far more corners than we'd like to admit.