LONDON: TikTok on Thursday launched an investigation into a senior executive who said he did not believe the company should offer maternity leave.
Joshua Ma, the head of the company’s e-commerce division across Europe and a senior executive at ByteDance, told staff that as a “capitalist” he “didn’t believe” that firms should offer maternity leave.
Shortly after the comment, it was announced in an email to staff that Ma would “take some time off” and “step back” from his role leading the UK e-commerce team.
In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said: “We are investigating alleged statements and actions to determine whether there has been a breach of company policies.”
The news follows a Financial Times probe, which alleged a staff exodus from TikTok's London offices.
It reported that the launch of TikTok Shop - the company’s livestream shopping feature - in the UK prompted some staff to leave and complaints about an aggressive culture that went against typical working practices in Britain.
The alleged remarks are being viewed as a sign of a wider culture clash between TikTok's Chinese owners ByteDance and some of its London-based workers.
TikTok sent an email to staff reassuring them it was continuing an investigation into the allegations.
“As you may be aware, the Financial Times today published an article that had some disheartening allegations about our TikTok Shop Operations in the UK,” said the email to staff with the subject heading “Maintaining a positive working culture.”
It added: “Hopefully, this painful experience will make us a stronger, closer and better team over the long term."