Trigger Warning: Rape, Physical Assault
My heart and my support go out to Adria.
Also, my righteous anger.
Here’s the gist of what happened. Adria was at PyCon, a developer conference, and noticed that two men behind her were making lude sexual jokes. She snapped a photo, tweeted it, brought up the behavior to PyCon officials (since they did have a code of conduct for their conference), and the situation was “handled”.
What’s happened after that is a prime example of why women and people of color (and women of color, of course) are few and far between in the world of tech.
One of the men making the jokes, who was there representing his employer, got fired for his actions. Adria’s website starts getting DDoS attacks, as does her employer’s website. People are leaving her nasty comments and she’s been getting death threats and rape threats tweeted to her since yesterday.
Today, SendGrid fired Adria. And they didn’t just fire her, but they announced it on Twitter and on Facebook so people could spread the word and comment on it. The Facebook comments are particularly vile, including one where a man details a particularly gruesome threat against Adria, concluded with the words “Make her pay. Make her obey.”
All of this for speaking up about something which made her uncomfortable.
To say that this is problematic would be an understatement, and it’s particularly troubling in a week when we’ve already seen two high-profile (and altogether disturbing) responses to sexual assault cases capture media headlines. We can’t figure out what possible justification SendGrid thinks they have for terminating Adria — and don’t even get us started on how they handled it — but if you’re as curious as we are then here’s SendGrid’s contact information.
I just read her account & honestly, she overreacted. These guys weren’t sexually harassing her, they were making lame jokes amongst themselves that she didn’t appreciate. Unprofessional & annoying, sure. But she should have handled it like an adult and either asked them to stop or privately gotten in touch with the right people to get it to stop. Tweeting their picture and making it into a big thing is completely unnecessary.
That said, the comments about her and the reaction about all this is ridiculous. Its never ok to make rape jokes and even if she had done something completely outrageous, still not ok. I don’t understand why she was fired but I’d guess it’s because the company didn’t like how she handled the situation via Twitter. But even if that is the case, not worthy of firing someone over.
The whole situation just seems like a big clusterfuck. Two people lost their jobs over something completely stupid.
^ Exactly what I was going to say. Just because people have grown an ego via the internet and twitter and Facebook, they think that it’s ok to post whatever they feel like it online. When she posted that complaint about those guys via Twitter, she acted unprofessionally. That’s basically what 15 year old do. They post things online to complain, when she should have gone to her higher ups and made a formal complaint instead of making a public one. She was unprofessional, and just because we have entered into this technology age doesn’t mean that the definition of professionalism has changed. She still signed a contract when she started that job agreeing to adhere to their company policies, and most likely there was a section about making formal complaints. She obviously didn’t deserve to have all of that backlash over the internet, but she did deserve to be fired. Any employer would have done it. She should have known better, especially when the situation wasn’t even that bad to begin with. She overreacted to a couple of idiots. HOWEVER, the way the company handled it by making it a public statement that she was fired was even more unprofessional than what she did.