I read these headlines about the story initially thinking Communications director, he really should know better, what a numpty, just don't use *that* word FFS! But then the details of the story seem to paint a different picture: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44585072 https://deadline.com/2018/06/jonath...ef-following-insensitive-comments-1202415977/ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...han-Friedland-fired-using-N-word-meeting.html While I wouldn't expect there to be many reasons why someone in a regular office job should utter the word actually the fact that he was a head of communications and the meeting was a PR meeting where the topic of discussion was sensitive words... well I guess given they are a company that puts out content where that word might be used then it isn't quite so far fetched that someone might use it in a descriptive sense in such a meeting. He's not referring to any person, he's not repeating some rap lyrics, he's not trying to use it in some misguided humorous way - he's the head of communications trying to have an adult conversation about sensitive words and he's used it in a descriptive context. But people got triggered... He's then apparently apologised to the people in the meeting later he's seemingly had to meet with two (the articles makes a note of the fact that they're black) HR personnel about the incident and seems to have uttered the word a second time there - almost certainly in a descriptive sense again. Presumably, though he knows not to use it in a big meeting given the flake he received, he perhaps thought that he could have a candid/factual discussion with HR? Seemingly not, they were apparently triggered too and apparently he hadn't learned his lesson... So now some random exec who probably wasn't a racist and was presumably otherwise quite decent at his job gets sacked because, well that is expected these days... he's of course issued a grovelling apology on twitter. It just seems bizarre, I don't think it would be quite as controversial in the UK, it isn't unheard of to see for example white people use the word in a purely descriptive sense on UK TV shows (Frankie Boyle, Stuart Lee etc...) but we do seem to follow the US in this sense and it does seem that as a society we're getting a bit oversensitive to the point where things get a bit silly.