Forbes diversity
Brian S. Hall, a Forbes contributor, on Tuesday published a post that argued Silicon Valley does not have a diversity crisis. The article was removed hours later. Forbes

Forbes has removed a contributor piece titled "There Is No Diversity Crisis in Silicon Valley" after being hit with a barrage of criticism from readers, including many leading the tech industry's movement to hire more women, Hispanics and African-Americans. The article, authored by journalist Brian S. Hall, argued that the healthy revenue streams and stock prices of companies like Apple, Google and Facebook were proof that the tech industry is doing well and has no reason to go out of its way to include more women or underrepresented minorities.

"There is no crisis at all in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is doing absolutely gangbusters!" Hall wrote, according to a cached version of the post. "This is not a crisis. Silicon Valley is swimming in money and in success."

The article went on to argue that people who want to break into the tech industry can do so but must do their part. "That Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, HP, Oracle, Mozilla, Intel, etc., are 'noninclusive' is laughable," Hall told International Business Times. "I believe Silicon Valley is one of the most open, inclusive, welcoming, ideas-driven, brains-fueled regions on the planet."

Hall said he was extremely disappointed in Forbes' decision to remove the article and has informed the publication he will no longer write for it. The post was viewed more than 20,000 times before being taken down, Hall said.

On its site, Forbes said the article was removed for violating its terms of service, which include discrimination, but the publication has not given any information beyond that. According to Hall, "Forbes told me it was not what they wanted on the site."

Though Forbes vets its contributors before bringing them on, the publication does not oversee their content before it is published, according to one of the publication's contributors. Forbes did not respond to a request for comment.

Many in tech argued the article was out of touch and tone-deaf. "I was especially taken aback when I read the phrase 'anecdotal evidence strongly suggests,' " said Carissa Romero, partner at Paradigm, a strategy firm that helps tech companies become more diverse. "This summarizes the kind of argument that was being made, and I hope that Forbes realized they should hold themselves to a higher standard for what kind of evidence is acceptable for publication."

The article, however, also had a few supporters.

Hall said the reaction to the piece involved plenty of name-calling but few fact-based counterarguments. Of the few points that were made was that Silicon Valley companies tend to recruit from a narrow base of schools and should expand their efforts, a point Hall said he agreed with. "The region would likely benefit even more if companies here did an even better job of reaching beyond these nearby schools," he said.

Aubrey Blanche, the global diversity programs lead at Atlassian, an enterprise software firm, defended the piece, saying that although Hall's arguments were empirically wrong, he is not alone in his opinion and that the article presented an opportunity for tech diversity supporters to engage with those who don't believe a problem exists.

"It's important for us to be able to identify people's concerns and objections so that we can have an honest conversation about the benefits of diversity and the reality that it's something we lack as an industry," Blanche said.