HubSpot INBOUND Got Political, and Some Folks Didn’t Like It


This article first appeared on the Boston Business Journal's website. BBJ and BostInno are both part of American City Business Journals.

Best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates abandoned his planned keynote address this morning at HubSpot's Inbound 2016 event to instead talk about Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election — and not everyone was happy about it.

Coates, who writes about race in America for The Atlantic magazine and won the 2015 National Book Award for "Between the World and Me," took the stage at the sales and marketing conference around 8:30 a.m.

Comedian Aziz Ansari spoke last year at HubSpot's Inbound conference. Ta-Nehisi Coates caused some controversy with his keynote address this year.

Coates opened his speech by referring to a Girls Who Code video that had played before his entrance.

"I was watching and I was looking at all those beautiful young girls," Coates said, according to streaming video of the speech posted to social media by an attendee. "The leader of the free world is somebody who through his campaign was recorded on tape effectively saying to the world that the lives, the physical bodies of young girls like that didn't matter."

Coates also spoke about the negative impacts Trump would have on the fight against global warming, on the effort to reform police departments and on the number of Americans with health insurance.

Many keynote attendees took to social media to praise Coates' speech, but others were upset by the pessimistic tone, saying they had paid for a marketing conference, not political opinions.

In response to those concerns, a post to the Inbound Facebook page read: "We recognize that this morning's keynote was political and not what some had expected. While the election is top of mind for many, INBOUND has always been about inspiring, positive content. We're looking forward to the week's amazing agenda."

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