Skip to main content

Former Microsoft employee recounts racism at Mixer

A former Microsoft Mixer employee recounted racism he says he experienced while at the streaming company, which was recently shuttered by Microsoft.

In a blog post on Sunday, Milan Lee called his two years at Mixer “the worst I’ve ever had professionally” and claimed the poor experience, which spanned 2017 and 2018, was “all due to racism.”

Lee’s first issue at the company reportedly came after he was hired and someone pulled him aside to say he was only hired because he was “street smart.” Lee, who said he was the only Black person working at Mixer during his time there, said he immediately thought of affirmative action.

“I believed I was only hired to meet a diversity goal because I was Black,” he wrote. “Anyways, I decided to brush it off and let it go.”

In another incident, Lee recounted a time when he was in an internal meeting with his manager, who used a slaveholder analogy to compare Mixer to its relationship with content creators on the game-streaming service.

“That analogy was ‘I’m in between a rock and a hard place. What I mean is all the partners are my slaves, I own their content. I control their success on our platform. For me I am the slave master, I own partners,'” Lee said his manager said at the time.

After telling his manager that he was angry with her analogy, the person, who Lee did not identify in the blog post, “had the nerve to Google that analogy to prove why it was okay.”

Lee said that he immediately reported the comments his manager made to higher-ups, but that person never reported the slavery comments to human resources. He resigned a few weeks later.

Still, Lee asked for the Microsoft legal department to investigate the matter, and it did. However, according to Lee, who by then had moved on to a role at Salesforce, the legal team sided with his former manager.

“The reason my manager was not penalized and the reason she still has her job today is because she CANNOT be racist,” Lee wrote. “The reason she CANNOT be racist is because she hired a Black person.”

Lee’s comments come at a time when millions of people around the U.S. are protesting against racial injustice after the killing of George Floyd. The allegations also came just a day before Microsoft announced on Monday that it would shutter its Mixer streaming service next month and transition its content creators to Facebook Gaming.

In a tweet on Monday, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said that Microsoft did not decide to shutter Mixer because of Lee’s post.

Spencer also responded to Lee on Sunday, asking him to “connect” with him so he could “learn and understand more” about what happened.

“Racism will not be tolerated on our teams or on our services,” Spencer tweeted.

Lee, who said he had emailed Spencer about the problem while working at Mixer, tweeted on Monday that he spoke to Spencer that day, and said he looks “forward to hearing updates about the issue we discussed and the actions you will continue to take for inclusion and diversity at Xbox/Microsoft.”

Microsoft also issued a statement from its Mixer Twitter and thanked Lee for his post.

“Our goal is to build a positive, welcoming, and inclusive team and community,” the company said. “To those sharing your stories; it’s unacceptable that we did not provide that for you. We’ll be vigilant in addressing this more diligently in the future.”

In response to Digital Trends’ request for further comment, a Microsoft spokesperson said, “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination and thoroughly investigate all employee concerns. We do not discuss the details of such investigations.”

Editors' Recommendations

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology, video game, and entertainment journalist. He has been writing about the world of…
Microsoft, please don’t screw up the Asus ROG Ally
Asus ROG Ally on a purple background.

I'm excited about Asus' upcoming ROG Ally gaming handheld, and mainly for one reason: Windows 11. The device comes with a spec bump over the Steam Deck, and I won't argue with RGB lighting around my thumbsticks, but Windows is what makes the ROG Ally truly stand out.

With Windows, you don't have to worry about a verification program to play your games -- even if Valve has handled the Steam Deck Verified program very well -- and you can access other app stores. And, of course, there's Xbox Game Pass.

Read more
The best video game remakes of all time
Leon parries a chainsaw villager in Resident Evil 4.

There are so many classic games from the past that have become difficult for new players to experience. The farther away in time we get from these games' releases, the more difficult it can get to not only get the game itself but also the extra hardware needed to play them. That alone is a major barrier that turns people away from playing games many consider to be some of the greatest of all time. And that's not even taking into account dated graphics, controls, and mechanics.

Remakes offer a new generation a chance to experience some of the most influential games of the past, as well as give fans of the originals a brand new way to play them all over again. The best remakes take what made a game so great before and modernize it for the current audience without losing that magical spark. It isn't an easy process, but here are the games that managed to pull it off.

Read more
Microsoft pledges to bring Xbox PC games to Nvidia GeForce Now

Microsoft has announced a 10-year partnership with Nvidia aimed at bringing Xbox PC games to its cloud gaming service competitor Nvidia GeForce Now as part of its ongoing efforts to win over companies skeptical of its potebtial Activision Blizzard acquisition.
This means that players can use Nvidia GeForce Now to play the Steam, Epic Games Store, or Windows versions of titles like Halo Infinite, Redfall, and eventually, Call of Duty through the cloud on GeForce Now. Third-party publishers with games on the Windows Store can also now grant streaming rights to Nvidia. This announcement came during a European Commission hearing where Microsoft tried to convince regulators that its impending acquisition should bne allowed.
Microsoft has been under a lot of regulatory scrutiny even since it announced its intent to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022. It's trying to win over industry peers with deals like this one with Nvidia. This week, the Communications Workers of America voiced its approval of the deal, and Microsoft has signed a binding agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms as well. Previously, Nvidia had raised concerns about Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition, but the press release announcing this agreement states that the deal "resolves Nvidia's concerns," and that Nvidia now gives "full support for regulatory approval of the acquisition." 
Regulatory bodies in the U.S., U.K., and Europe are worried that Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard will hurt the game industry and sabotage Microsoft's competitors in both console and cloud gaming. Nvidia GeForce Now is seen as one of the biggest competitors to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate's cloud service offerings, which makes it surprising that it reached an agreement with Nvidia. However, this deal also demonstrates how Microsoft is willing to make concessions so that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved.

Read more