Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Snapchat's head of diversity apologized to employees Saturday for a widely criticized Juneteenth filter that encouraged people to "smile and break the chains." However, in the same note, the executive insisted that it was white employees who raised concerns and black employees who suggested it was fine.

Between the lines: While the letter offers some clarity about the process that led to the filter's release, it's not clear that it makes the company look much better.

What they're saying: "For the record, and the avoidance of all doubt: the two Snap team members who on separate occasions specifically questioned if the 'smile' trigger was appropriate for Juneteenth were two white team members," VP of diversity and inclusion Oona King said in an email to employees seen by Axios.

  • "The Snap team members who suggested the smile trigger to begin with, and said it was acceptable to use, were black Snap team members, and/or members of my team."

Our thought bubble: Snap clearly wants the world to know that this blunder was not a matter of an all-white team stumbling into a race-politics gaffe, but rather the failure of a process that involved a racially diverse set of employees. Yet it's not the makeup of Snap's team that's at issue — it's the content the company put before the public.

  • The company faced similar backlash over a "4/20" Bob Marley filter that many perceived as akin to digital blackface.

Go deeper

Memo: The New York Times lays off 68 people, mostly in advertising

The New York Times building. Photo: Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The New York Times has laid off 68 people, mostly on its advertising team, the company said in an internal memo to employees Tuesday, obtained by Axios. There were no layoffs in the company's newsroom or opinion sections.

Context: The company alluded to layoffs in its ad sales division in May amid the economic upheaval caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Secret Service says it "misdirected" press to leave White House grounds

Protesters and U.S. Park Police clash after demonstrators tried to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Secret Service told members of the media covering a protest in Lafayette Square to leave White House grounds on Monday evening, as demonstrators attempted to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson.

Why it matters: It's an "incredibly unusual" move, noted CNN's Kaitlan Collins live on air. Reporters are typically redirected to the White House briefing room during such incidents, per CNN. A Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement to Axios, "[I]n response to the increasingly violent demonstrations in Lafayette Park, four members of the media were misdirected by the Secret Service to leave the White House grounds. The members of the press were rerouted to exits on the south side of the complex for their own safety."

Race's media moment

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Photo by David J. & Janice L. Frent/Corbis via Getty Images, NY Daily News via Getty Images, Bettmann / Contributor, Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, Star Tribune via Getty Images.

Across every type of media — music, television, books, podcasts and more — messages about fighting systemic racism and driving social change are topping the charts and dominating the country's attention span.

Why it matters: Just as the late 1960s propelled new soundtracks, movies and shows about social justice, media today will serve as a lasting record of this moment in America's history.