Over 500 People Targeted with Harassment and Discrimination in the Tech Industry

In the wake of widespread harassment accusations in the entertainment industry, media, academia, and politics, BuzzFeed News conducted a survey asking people to share their harassment and discrimination experiences in the tech industry.

BuzzFeed News found more than 500 respondents said “they’d been targeted with harassment and discrimination — i.e., racism, sexism, ageism — while working in tech. Most said that the experiences had far-reaching implications for their careers and personal lives.”

The survey was conducted on people who identified as women, men, members of the LGBT community, and people of many different races and ethnicity. “We did not verify individual claims, beyond reaching out to people who left us their contact information and agreed to be contacted; because of the topic, verification is difficult. But the scope and the common themes that we saw in so many of these stories paint a portrait of an industry with deeply rooted problems, and they also reveal the extent to which people who have experienced harassment and discrimination find their lives irrevocably changed,” said BuzzFeed News on the results.

BuzzFeed News received over 800 responses. One woman shared that “at every single job” she “had one of the [superiors] harass” her.

“I was the only female on the 12-person management team. I was talked over in meetings and had my area of expertise ‘mansplained’ to me. I made a complaint to HR and they said they would address it. A few weeks later I was let go,” reported another woman in the BuzzFeed News online report.


Matt Lauer Fired from NBC After Allegation of Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

NBC host Matt Lauer was fired from “Today” after allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. NBC News states it had decided to dismiss one of their highest paid hosts after a woman met with network executives to describe her interactions with him.

“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident,” Andrew Lack, the NBC News chairman, wrote in a memo to staff.

According to MSN, the network received at least two more complaints related to Mr. Lauer, according to a person briefed on the network’s handling of the matter. One complaint came from a former employee who said Mr. Lauer had summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door and sexually assaulted her. She provided her account to The New York Times but declined to let her name be used.

Mr. Lauer issued an apology, expressing “sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused.”

Former Congressional Black Caucus Member Sexually Harassed by Congressman

A former Congressional Black Caucus fellow accused a congressman of sexually harassing her in 2013. M. Reese Everson shared on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” that the congressman asked her if he could “flirt” with her to help her “excel” in her career. At the time she did not see the encounter as harassment, but as an “inappropriate experience.”

As mentioned in Lifezette, although Everson attempted to flee the situation by transferring to another office, she told Ingraham she “was not successful.”

“I was retaliated against, wrongfully terminated, and then blackballed,” Everson said. “And so my experience was a very traumatic one where not only because of speaking up did I lose my job, but my ability to find another job. And I think that that’s the worst part of all of this is the silence. It’s a pervasive, incestuous silence that keeps women hidden and keeps women from speaking up because they don’t have the courage to speak out against such a powerful person.”

With several members of Congress being accused of engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior, Laura Ingraham demands answers. “Why aren’t they naming names? Why aren’t others naming names? And I’m not the only one asking these questions and demanding real answers,” Ingraham questions.

Hundreds Join Hollywood #MeToo March Against Sexual Harassment

Both women and men marched in Los Angeles on Sunday to protest sexual assault and harassment, inspired by a social media campaign that has exposed the extent of such abuse in everyday life.

As stated in The Guardian, the #MeToo march along Sunset Boulevard follows a relentless series of accusations by men and women who say they were victimized by high-powered figures in the entertainment industry.

Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood film producer and comedian Louis CK are among the most prominent people to have been accused of sexual harassment.

According to The Guardian, the #MeToo social media movement began after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s most vocal critics, who wrote: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Oscar-winning producer, Cathy Schulman points out the problem of sexual harassment goes beyond Hollywood and addresses those in the media saying, “What we do matters. If we can see images of real diverse people — people everywhere will learn and understand one another a little better. Demand to see what you want to see and protect women from prejudice and abuse so they can take back the workplace.”

Sen. Latvala Removed as Budget Chief after Sexual Harassment Scandal

Senator Jack Latvala was removed Monday of his powerful role as chairman of the Senate Budget Chief during an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed six women.

As mentioned in Tampa Bay Times, Senate President Joe Negron announced that Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, will take Latvala’s place as budget chairman.

In addition, Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, will take Bradley’s place as chairman of the Senate budget subcommittee on transportation, tourism and economic development.

The women accusing Latvala include Senate staff and lobbyists affiliated with both major parties, who told Politico Florida “they did not want to be identified for fear of losing their jobs, getting a bad reputation in the male-dominated Capitol or running afoul of an influential politician who can kill their clients’ issues.” As reported in Politico, the women report the incidents occurred over several years, and in the privacy of Latvala’s Senate office or in public places like the Capitol rotunda, a bar or an elevator.

Latvala denies ever sexually harassing anyone, and told Politico that in the 16 years of his career he has “never had a complaint filed against” him.

Facebook Sued for Depriving Workers of Overtime

Facebook is facing a class-action lawsuit from a former manager claiming the social network deliberately misclassified its employees to avoid paying them overtime.

As mentioned in Ars Technica, Susie Bigger alleges that she and countless other Facebook workers are illegally classified as managers as part of “defendant’s scheme to deprive them of overtime compensation.”

According to the lawsuit, the primary duties of the different titled positions are nearly identical. Their duties “involve communicating with existing Facebook advertising customers, implementing their marketing plans, and selling Facebook marketing products and services to existing customers.” The suit says a “large percentage” of their compensation comes from “commissions from the sale of Facebook’s marketing products.”

The lawsuit explains these positions don’t constitute management jobs. “Management positions lawfully enable companies to withhold overtime pay, which is one and one-half times regular pay—after an employee works 40 hours in a week.”

A Fourth Actress Comes Forward Alleging Sexual Assault by Weinstein

Attorney Gloria Allred has introduced a fourth woman alleging that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her after her repeated refusals.

Deadline reports, the actress Natassia Malthe, “described an incident at a London hotel in 2008, in which she was awakened in the middle of the night by Weinstein’s pounding on her door. “When I opened the door, he barged into the room,” and mentions “she did not want to have any kind of sexual relationship with him, he assaulted her against her will.”

She recalls playing “dead” during the assault.

“Hollywood men should not be allowed to force women to gratify them sexually,” Malthe added.

Weinstein denies the allegations and insists that the sexual relationships he had with any of the women were consensual.


The Rock Guide for Preventing Sexual Harassment Scandals

“Treat all women like you would treat Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson,” advises blogger Anne Victoria Clark after the New York Times reported that men are becoming less likely to mentor females in attempt to rule out any accusations of sexual harassment.

“Are you a man confused on how to treat the woman you work with? Do you feel like if you can’t say or do *anything* you don’t know what to say or at all?” Clark asks in Medium blog. “Well stress no more! This life hack will have you treating women like people in no time.”

Clark advises that men should close their eyes when grabbing coffee, having a one-on-one meeting or having after-work drinks with female colleagues who they might find attractive and instead think of Johnson.

Johnson himself approves the technique and suggests that “when you men approach woman, just think of me.”

Four Female Journalists Sue Detroit Free Press Over Equal Pay

Four female journalists have filed a pay discrimination lawsuit against the Detroit Free Press.

Former and current staff members allege they have been underpaid despite doing the same work and being just as qualified.

According to Fox 2 Detroit, the highly skilled and talented women have been awarded and recognized for their work at the paper that in some cases, dates back to the 1980s.

Labor and civil rights attorney Deborah Gordon, says the four female journalists went to their newspaper guild and complained about the difference in pay when it comes to how much men and women make.

“For example, for all assistant editors – the same job title, the same job responsibilities – the median wage for men is $7.65 more,” Gordon said. “We know that for photographers – same job duties – the median wage is $4 more or higher.”

Gordon claims the union brought the pay discrepancies to the Free Press and its parent company Gannett last year, and the paper did not take action.

Photographers Kathleen Galligan, Mary Schroeder, Rose Ann McKean and Regina Bone feel they had no choice but to file a federal lawsuit – under the equal pay act.

Banana Republic Employee Told Her Braids Are ‘Too Urban’

Banana Republic has been accused of being discriminatory to one of its employees, a black woman named Destiny Tompkinshas after her manager would not schedule her for more shifts unless she removed her braids, which he described as “too urban and unkempt.”

As mentioned in NY Daily News, Tompkins posted to Facebook about the encounter at the Westchester Mall store, saying that after a visit from the district manager, who was white, the store manager, also white, told Tompkins she had to remove her braids.

 “I came in and he questioned me about the dress code and immediately, I thought there was something wrong with my outfit but he sat me down and questioned my hair instead,” Tompkins shared on Facebook. “He told me that my braids were not Banana Republic appropriate and that they were too ‘urban’ and ‘unkempt’ for their image.”
She tried to explain the style was meant to be protective for her natural hair because “it tends to become really brittle in the cold” so the manager “recommended that I use shea butter for it instead.”