After making disparaging remarks towards Mexicans and other individuals, which included white people, Dr. Karen Johnson was removed as the first head of the “Office of Equity” for Washington state.
These were some disclosures made during an examination of Johnson’s job termination earlier in May by the Washington State Office of Financial Management. She has held the role since May 2021.
A report on the accusations was received by KING-TV through a public documents request.
According to the investigation, Johnson had an unorganized workplace and demanded things of her employees that were excessive.
Johnson was accused of making multiple offensive remarks regarding people’s races, among other things.
She allegedly added, “This could take a while for me due to the fact that I normally distrust Mexican folks,” during a group discussion. “When it’s convenient for them, Mexicans can choose to be white.”
She also claimed that a white person was engaging in “cultural appropriation” by wearing their hair braided.
Some said she made comments about how they looked, urging one to apply lipstick and another that they were too heavy.
According to Johnson, she was let go because she pushed for equity-related responsibility at state agencies.
Democratic Governor Jay Inslee replied to KING by saying that her allegations had nothing to do with Johnson’s termination and that the equity office had operational and financial difficulties.
Johnson denied being biased against any group and claimed she was thinking about taking her termination to court.
“Because everyone is human, I think we all belong,” Johnson remarked.
She denied having any enmity for Mexicans when questioned about her purported remarks about them.
“That wasn’t my takeaway from this conversation,” she continued.
The equity office’s objective was to “To advance Access to Equitable Opportunities as well as Resources that Minimize Disparities and Enhance Outcomes Statewide.”