Power Players

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel: The Covid-19 pandemic has 'laid bare the tremendous inequity in American society'

Co-Founder and CEO of Snap Inc. Evan Spiegel.
Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images

Covid-19 has exacerbated long-standing racial disparities in the U.S., data shows. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color, particularly Black people, across the country and has highlighted years of health and social inequities.

It's "been very painful to watch," Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel said on the "How Leaders Lead with David Novak" podcast on Thursday.

"The most important thing that Covid has done, in my opinion, is it has laid bare the tremendous inequity in American society and the failures of many of our systems," Spiegel told CNBC contributor Novak, "including our health system to take care of our citizens."

"That's been most obvious because the outcomes in other countries are very different. Other countries have been able to manage this crisis more effectively."

For example, "you see Black or Latinx people in our culture are dying at higher rates, and you see that the economic impact of Covid disproportionately impacts those people who are also dying at higher rates," Spiegel said.

Indeed, Black and Hispanic residents of the U.S. have been three times as likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and nearly twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as white people, according to CDC data uncovered and reported by The New York Times

"When you see the backdrop of racism that persists in our country today exacerbated by this situation, I think generally, it's a really important step for our country to take to at least see that this problem exists," Spiegel said.

"Unless we're willing to acknowledge this problem, unless we're willing to acknowledge this history, unless we're willing to acknowledge the inequities in our system today, it's going to be very difficult to fix them."

Spiegel's hope is that it will lead to change. 

"I think even in the short term, while this is an excruciating period of time, I do think this event brings us closer to a country that embodies our values over the longer term," Spiegel said.

"I think the biggest thing that [Covid-19 has] done is really laid bare the inequities in our society and the failings of our country to take care of its citizens."

Spiegel is currently worth an estimated $4.53 billion, according to Bloomberg. According to Forbes, Spiegel has donated about $65 million in Snap stock. He and his wife, Miranda Kerr, along with The Snap Foundation, donated $10 million for Covid-19 relief in Los Angeles.

Spiegel and his Snap co-founder, Bobby Murphy, have pledged to donate 13 million shares of Snap stock to the foundation, whose "mission is to develop pathways to the creative economy for underrepresented youth in Los Angeles," according to its website.

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