Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward

TikTok senior exec will ‘step back’ after saying he ‘didn’t believe’ companies should offer maternity leave

June 8, 2022, 2:40 PM UTC

A TikTok executive who said he “didn’t believe” companies should offer maternity leave is stepping back from his role at the company.

Joshua Ma, who also heads e-commerce at TikTok Europe, will reportedly “take some time off” and “step back” from his role in the U.K., according to an email seen by the Financial Times. That comes after an FT report that Ma had outraged employees at the company by making the comments at a dinner, citing his position as a “capitalist” as the rationale.

The report prompted TikTok to launch an investigation, which is ongoing.

“Hopefully, this painful experience will make us a stronger, closer, and better team over the long term,” parent company ByteDance said in a staff-wide email, the FT reported.

TikTok also clarified it offered employees 30 weeks of paid leave for maternity.

Still, roughly half the staff of the e-commerce division in London have quit the company. Others tell the FT they’re considering quitting, citing frequent workdays that exceed 12 hours and burnout.

“The well-being of our team is our top priority…[and] leadership 100% supports the use of annual leave to fully recharge and spend time with friends and family,” the email read.

Ma was in London for the launch of the first TikTok Shop outside of Asia. The unit is designed to sell products to British users via the social media app, in a QVC-like fashion. Patrick Nommensen, who had led the launch of e-commerce in the U.K., was named as Ma’s interim successor.

Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.