Lawsuit takes aim at diversity expert’s shaming tactics
Ms. Kike Ojo-Thompson is now confronting the humiliating prospect of being labeled the new face of “woke racism:” She is a diversity expert who conducts Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) workshops in academia.
Her cushy job was to “build a better society” in classrooms, but now she’s facing a breach of contract lawsuit filed by the very group that hired her: Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
One thing is for certain on the side of TDSB: They will assert the contract for Ojo-Thompson’s services as a racial expert did not include shaming white educators with vitriolic name-calling, or even worse, singling out a well-respected principal who would end up committing suicide.
The lawsuits were set in motion by the principal in question: Richard Bilkszto, age 60, who would file an harassment complaint and inadvertently pull back the curtain on the egregious conduct taking place in the DEI workshops, having been the target in one.
He was the lone voice among 200 educators to challenge the racial expert’s sweeping generalizations about racism. She threw the ultimate stink bomb at Mr. Bilkszto, labeling him a “white supremacist,” for his arguing the point that Canada wasn’t a bastion of racism or even more racist than America.
“Your job in this work, as white people, is to believe,” Ojo-Thompson scolded the principal who had a stellar reputation as a dedicated educator and had taught in both countries.
Apparently, he wasn’t a believer. This public harangue by Ojo-Thompson failed to intimidate the principal or silence him. Among his differing points of view was arguing that Canada allocated more funds, than the U.S., to educate children in economically depressed areas.
This comment must have triggered Ojo-Thompson. She turned to the standard list of ABR insults (anti-Black racism), well known in the DEI world, condemning Bilkszto’s point-of-view as an “apologist for racism.” Her topsy-turvy logic -- which her consulting firm was extravagantly paid $15,000 per two-hour workshop -- included lambasting the educator as a sterling example of “resistance” to the equity narrative.
If Bilkszto hoped for support from his colleagues in the room, he would have been sorely disappointed. They sat in mute silence watching Ojo-Thompson expound on her circular logic of claiming Bilkszto’s resistance was “one of the ways that white supremacy is upheld, protected, reproduced, upkept, and defended.”
She was caught on tape laughing while taunting Bilkszto.
These sordid details would surface in the initial lawsuit filed by Bilkszto, but TDSB didn’t want to be on the hook for the expenses. So they turned around and sued Ojo-Thompson’s firm, KOJO.
The tragedy of Bilkszto’s suicide can really be traced to the two years of humiliation he experienced subsequent to the workshop. He felt “betrayed,” according to friends, by colleagues who failed to investigate the matter, but relied on their knee-jerk reactions to build themselves up on social media as the arbitrators of stamping out racism, no matter how undeserving the target.
His tipping point is not known. But his family reported he felt “devastated” when he read the comment of a prominent member of his district: Sheryl Robinson Petrazzini, superintendent of TDSB, posted a tweet hailing Ojo-Thompson “for modeling the discomfort administrators may need to experience in order to disrupt ABR (anti-Black racism).”
She later deleted her message. Perhaps she found the posting a bit harsh in light of learning Bilkszto had taken his own life.
The last tragic footnote belongs to Ojo-Thompson. She appeared resistant to the concept of personal responsibility, and came up with the unfathomable position of casting herself as a victim.
“This incident is being weaponized to discredit and suppress the work of everyone committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” she wrote. “We will not be deterred from work in building a better society for everyone.”
She may end up being deterred by the inevitable pitfalls of a harassment lawsuit, and additional legal proceedings underway by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, a collection of insurance companies.
They, too, would contribute to exposing the shameful dynamics taking place in diversity seminars: “Based on the information on file,” wrote a representative with the insurance board, “I am satisfied that the conduct of the (DEI) speaker… was abusive, egregious and vexatious, and rises to the level of workplace harassment and bullying.”
If Ojo-Thompson takes a closer look at the complaints piling up, she will discover a “teachable moment,” but not like the one she boasted about in her workshop while shaming Bilkszto.
She could wake-up to the realization that her actions have caused a great deal of harm to others. And “speaking as a Black woman” doesn’t sanction the right for her to assume the moral high ground when targeting and shaming individuals who fail to agree with her orthodoxy.