adria-richards

The war against women continues as more of our bright, courageous voices are deliberately shamed into silence. Adria Richards lost her job and became the target of death and rape threats for simply reporting sexual harassment at the PyCon tech conference on Twitter and her blog.

Blogger and web developer Adria Richards, one of the few black women in tech, was made to feel like an outsider at the PyCon tech conference when two men made inappropriate lewd comments a row behind her.

She writes:

“The guy behind me to the far left was saying he didn’t find much value from the logging session that day. I agreed with him so I turned around and said so. He then went onto say that an earlier session he’d been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasn’t really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.

That would have been fine until the guy next to him… began making sexual forking jokes I was going to let it go.

It had been a long week. A long month. I’d been on the road since mid February attending and speaking at conferences. PyCon was my 5th and final conference before heading home. I know it’s important to pick my battles. I know I don’t have to be a hero in every situation. Sometimes I just want to go to a conference and be a geek.

But… like Popeye, I couldn’t “stands it no more” because of what happened – Jesse Noller was up on stage thanking the sponsors. The guys behind me (one off to the right) said, “You can thank me, you can thank me”. That told me they were a sponsoring company of Pycon and from the photos I took, his badge had an add-on that said, “Sponsor”. My company was a Gold sponsor as well. They started talking about “big” dongles. I could feel my face getting flustered. Was this really happening?How many times do I have to deal with this?”

Richards photographed the men, tweeted the picture and reported their actions to the conference organizers. The two men were reportedly fired by their company for their inappropriate behavior. At that point, Richards became a target.

In addition to receiving rape and death threats, she was fired from her company, SendGrid, who released the following vague statement:

“Effective immediately, SendGrid has terminated the employment of Adria Richards. While we generally are sensitive and confidential with respect to employee matters, the situation has taken on a public nature. We have taken action that we believe is in the overall best interests of SendGrid, its employees, and our customers. As we continue to process the vast amount of information, we will post something more comprehensive.”

In what world is it okay to fire someone for speaking out and reporting sexual harassment? The tragic and deplorable mishandling of this situation by SendGrid sends a message to women that having a voice and defending yourself can cost you your job. It is a way of silencing and disempowering women in an environment where sexually obscene and offensive comments are all too prevalent. The death and rape threats Richards is now receiving are just another example of sexism rearing its ugly head. Media outlets are blaming the victim, asking what she could have done differently rather than addressing why these men thought their lewd comments were appropriate in the first place.

As Richards is faced with daily attacks and commentary questioning her character, we want to support her, be in solidarity with her and thank her for her courage. Her actions were commendable and necessary to protect herself and other women from a sexist culture that constantly threatens to demean and humiliate them.

Her attackers and SendGrid are the ones who should be ashamed.

adria

Source

  • http://twitter.com/Ms_Krista Krista Summitt (@Ms_Krista)

    Well said, Clutch. We should always pull together and support each other like this.

  • TajMarie

    This is grounds for a lawsuit.

  • la mala

    Really? In the best interest of the employees and customers? This is so ridiculous…

  • Yvette

    Hmm, my comment seems to be stuck in moderation. I wonder why?

  • Yvette

    Guess I’ll try again. One of the most important facts was left out of this story. Not only did Ms. Richards photograph the two men, she also tweeted the picture. Why didn’t she just go directly to the conference organizers and ask that the men be removed? Instead, she chose to turn it into a public Internet spectacle – very immature in my opinion.

    She definitely shouldn’t have been fired nor threatened, but she also should have handled the situation in a more professional manner.

  • Alicia W.

    “Adria Richards lost her job and became the target of death and rape threats for simply reporting sexual harassment at the PyCon tech conference on Twitter and her blog.”

  • Simone L

    Although I’m not sure she should have tweeted it, its sad that her company let her go. A black female in the tech world- those two are really rare in that field. Sometimes I think the internet is making us worse people. We’ll send a death threat in a heart beat. And for some reason, some people are comfortable with threatening to violate a woman. This bothers me to my core.

  • au napptural

    Wow, the myth of the meritocracy is alive and well. It’s a shame that when we reach great points in our careers, like this young women, we are still assaulted by racism and sexism. Well, I’m glad Clutch is giving this woman attention for doing the right thing.

  • bob

    I am for my black sisters and think this woman should not be fired. But she showed poor judgement in how she handled the situation. You are going to get people fired because of jokes, you are not going to try to give them a warning, you just report them and ruin their lives, and then you put their personal identities out there for the world to judge, what are you 13 ? she handled this situation very very very poorly. The only reason to fire her was the posting of others pictures on twitter. That was very very bad potentially damaging these mens lives for years to come over jokes, jokes. This is ridiculous. She is not some delicate butterfly she is a grown adult woman that was acting like she was a teenager.

  • Suzanne

    As much as I agree with you, I do have to wonder if Ms. Richards complaints about the comments would have been taken seriously had she handled it privately. Would conference organizers have forced these two male idiots to leave? I doubt it. What would Ms. Richards have said: “These two guys are making sexual references that are making me uncomfortable”? Considering the venue, she may have been laughed at.

    I’ve seen companies completely ignore such issues. In fact, the person filing the complaint often suffers backlash from coworkers and management.

  • bob

    Also I believe anyone making threats against this woman should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I hope they find the people doing this and they go to jail.

  • Ash K

    She didn’t get them fired, they got themselves fired by showing their a s s at a professional event that was being sponsored by their employer.

  • jaded

    I’ve met Adria a few times, and she is excellent at community building. This situation is unfortunate on many levels. Whether you agree with her handling of the situation in the conference is completely irrelevant. It is utterly ridiculous people cannot engage in mature discussion about sexism in Silicon Valley without threats of bodily harm. I hope the people responsible are punished accordingly.

    As I learned more about the story, it also seems her employer handled the situation poorly in more ways than one. This is also unfortunate.

    There is far too much evidence is that far too many adults are unable to engage in constructive and respectful discourse.

  • Kay

    Well the men should also be adult enough to understand social etiquette and not make lewd, sexual jokes. I mean really, if we’re all adults they should know better. Why is the onus on HER to just grin and bear it? If she is a grown adult woman, then they should be grown adult men. Period.

  • mr.fierce

    yep, white women look out for white men. its one thing if those men were black, she still would have a job. her crime was being a whistle blower in a male dominated industry, its an unwritten rule, but nevertheless its a good’ole boys club.

    The guy that got fired will get another job, but she labeled herself and now will be ostracized by the same men who she has to go to for a job.

  • John Davidson

    This is a ridiculous article. Create a ficticious divide and rally the troups. No one wins, people get hurt, and all for alleged oversensitivity to a silly – private – joke. Funny thing is, Adria Richards also made a silly penis joke the same day and on her very public twitter. This, and the generated media frenzy, makes her seem more like a narcissist trying to direct traffic to her social media than a crusader. And response to vitriol online: any keyboard clown, of any age, could be writing that rubbish. This is not indicative of professional people, or men. This is the internet. The Wild West of vigilante justice. It really cares not about race or gender. Anyone can suffer its wrath.

  • Eva

    Had to post again since I think my last comment may not have been Clutch’s cup of tea.

    Just know that there is more to this story than what is reported here. Look it up.

    All parties are in the wrong and all could use a good dose of maturity. Please don’t make this into some big feminist thing when it isn’t.

    Death threats are uncool. I agree with the search and prosecute comments. That ish will not be tolerated.

  • mr.fierce

    Had to post again since I think my last comment may not have been Clutch’s cup of tea.

    lol…welcome to the party.

  • Guest1234

    Hmmm… There is a bit more to this story than you let on. I generally trust the material on Clutch. I guess this isn’t a news site so the seriously biased bent to the tone of this article is not problematic per se because the pieces here are opinion pieces, not journalism.

    My understanding is that she has been known to publicly make similar sexual remarks, herself, which interferes with any right to cherry pick when to take offense. If you go around making lewd comments to people, you can’t suddenly and arbitrarily cry sexism when somebody makes lewd comments within earshot of you. And after one of the men she tweeted about was fired, a fairly large number of people launched a DDoS attack on her company which caused them some problems that they didn’t really like. I further understand that she frequently goes around claiming outrage to draw attention to herself. So my guess is that she was fired for be a constant disturbance, and consistently exhibiting bad judgment in a way that was starting to materially and directly affect the company.

    My take on the issue is that nobody should have been fired. This is overreacting on the part of all employers involved. She was pretty immature to post those pics on twitter. Sure, those guys are obnoxious, but that’s not how you handle it. Wouldn’t you, at least, ask them to stop before publicly shaming them that way? She took a bazooka to a fly and it does betray a lack of judgment.

    So, my official position is: Nothing to see here. Everybody was wrong. Everybody will survive. Whatever.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    The comments on this article are super strange and not at all productive.

  • Alicia W.

    “She is not some delicate butterfly she is a grown adult woman” – notice how black women are never allowed to be delicate and in need of protection. i’m sure if she was white, you’d be singing a different tune

  • Denise

    And what you have here ladies and gentlemen is victim blaming at its finest. All this attention on what Adria could have done differently or what she’s said in the past while the guys get a pass. Digging up her past doesn’t make what these men said in a professional setting any more deplorable. They were wrong, she’s being attacked. There’s a difference.

  • Denise

    let me get this straight – a black woman is subjected to sexually lewd comments by two white men, she airs her grievances publicly and to the conference organizers and gets fired and has other men threatening to rape and defile her body as a result…but it’s NOT a ‘feminist’ thing. that makes no sense.

  • bob

    didnt you just read my other comment those harasshing her should go to jail, I treat women on a equal footing as men all women including white women , especially white women since I see them as the most privileged class of people in America. But puting peoples pictures on twitter was very tactless. The internet is a dangerous placed if used wrong. I think it was a mistake she made but you cant take that back so I see why she got fired. and yes she is a grown woman. who should of known better. My 16 year old little sister knows better than to do something that stupid , why does this grown woman not ?

  • bob

    her employes put the whole situation on twitter, so that their site would stop getting attacked. Disgusting situation.

  • bob

    Thank you , people are being real about this. if she was fired for no reason but discrimination. if those dudes were making sexual jokes about her hair or her body I can understand. But she got so upset that she heard two men telling lewd jokes to eachother key word each other, she felt she had the right to post their pictures on the internet for the world to see them and publicly shame them to her 10,000 followers. Nope not a good idea. And got one of the men fired over a joke. damaging their lives heavily, over a joke. That does not sit right with me. If she makes sexual jokes herself, she should of had the decency to ask the men to stop if it was making her cringe. If they refused to stop then you report them privately to the head of the event. If she had done that she would not have been fired. But no she abuses her power and takes pics of these men and distributes it on the internet, she is a victim of her own lack of class. These men are a victim of stupidity, and there own lack of class. But none of them should of been fired. She should deff not be recieving death threats ok im dont that was my thoughts.

  • The Other Jess

    Sorry people, but trust that no job would just fire these two guys if they were guilty of only minor harassments or a single joke in poor taste. Obviously these two guys must have had a track record of pretty severe sexual harassment, probably to several other women in the company, in order to be fired. If the company fired them, best believe it was because they truly deserved it.

    The woman lost her job too, you know, although in her case I think it was because she was a whistleblower, or maybe because she posted their pictures online instead of waiting for HR to handle it internally. Proof that you must be careful what you post at work or when work-related.

    The good thing is that the two harassing guys also lost their jobs, which they absolutely deserved to. I agree that there is more to this story.

  • ….

    So the guys weren’t even talking to (or about) her?

  • StarMonkey

    It’s not victim blaming. She wasn’t a victim of anything. The comments weren’t even made to her specifically, and, quite frankly, if people want their goddamn free speech, they shouldn’t be complaining about people occasionally making sex jokes they don’t agree with, especially when they, too, make such jokes. Please, there’s a massive difference between this and rape, don’t start applying the very real problem of victim blaming to this situation, it doesn’t apply. At all.

  • Lisa Taylor Whitley

    Regardless of why she was fired, the fact that she is receiving death and sexual threats is extremely disturbing. That is a women’s issue!

  • V for Me

    While she should not be recieving threats, she should have handled it differently and not shot off her big mouth and made such a big deal out of it. It was a private conversation, and they were not talking to her. SendGrid were right to fire her and she needs to move one. However, I expect she’ll milk this for all its worth.

  • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

    Yvette,

    On Friday night after 7 pm est through Sunday – we don’t really get to monitor comments and if they get stuck in moderation – it is not us and most of the time we don’t get to look at the comments in moderation and approve until Sunday afternoon or Monday morning – due to us being off on weekends.

    Thanks!

  • MISS_EMCEE

    If she was white she would still have a job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jbwainwright Justice Blaine Wainwright

    She wasn’t sexually harassed. She overheard a private conversation between two friends joking around. You demean actual acts of sexual harassment by claiming this is the former. You need to edit this piece if you want to be consider yourself a journalist or be taken seriously. She deserved to lose her job and I am glad she did. She did not deserve the threats and those people should be punished, but shaming two people because she didn’t like their conversation is incredibly idiotic. PC idiocy has its limits and this is a prime example of victim mentality gone wild.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jbwainwright Justice Blaine Wainwright

    If she hadn’t over reacted and acted like an idiot, she’c have a job. You’re being incredibly racist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jbwainwright Justice Blaine Wainwright

    She isn’t a victim and you insult actual victims of sexual abuse with this nonsense. this was a PRIVATE conversation between two friends and had NOTHING to do with her. She made it her business by choosing to put herself into it and I am so glad she is fired. She ruined one mans life while making her feminist defenders look like idiots. She was in the wrong and if you don’t see that, you’re not a feminist, you just hate men. Being a feminist means holding women to equally high standards and being a liar is not a standard I expect my female friends to propagate.

  • Suzanne

    And you’re being an EXCELLENT douche. To acknowledge a woman of color may have to deal with more serious repercussions than her white counterpart is “incredibly racist”? Even if race is NOT an issue in this particular case, you’re lack of understanding is astounding.

    Put the meatball sub down and find a brain.

  • Ash K

    You know, a comment doesn’t have to be made to you or made about you to be sexual harassment. Sure, they didn’t grab her butt or call her a slut or something like that, but still, allowing comments like the ones they made to go unchecked creates a certain climate that allows sexual harassment to thrive. It’s all on the same spectrum. I don’t work in the tech industry, but I’ve heard from many women who do and there definitely seems to be a frat house mentality that many men seem to have.

    Lastly, there is no such thing as a private conversation when you’re speaking in an otherwise quiet auditorium. Since the two of them were only in control of their own actions, (plus the fact that they were representing their employer) they should have been on their best behavior and not given anybody a reason to say boo to them.

  • JA Osborn

    There are no victims here just two people who both demonstrated poor judgement at a moment in time. The developer apologized. On the other hand, Richards has continued her Twitter rant in a misguided attempt to justify her malice (posting the developers picture and details of the incident). Her actions demonstrate she has low social maturity and no insight into what went wrong in the totality of the incident. I suspect this will be tried in a court of law. When posting on Twitter, Richards knew or should have known there would be a certain level of negative outcome when she took a private matter global. That negative outcome can have legal consequences. The developer has a measurable loss, his job and reputation. Posting the event on Twitter is similar to sending a company wide email of a personnel complaint against a colleague – it will get you fired.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    So many of you are okay with men making lewd jokes in the presence of a woman. It starts with just jokes and moves to something more serious.

  • MISS_EMCEE

    I didn’t know I racist. So now I have the ability to control white people image in media, my black privilege is out weighs white privilege, I have the power to control economics, war, entertainment, education, labor, politics, health, religion and law? Now I join the law enforcement and kill 100′white who look like they have a gun. Also, as a part time job I will be a sales woman and follow white women around. Fuck out of here u dumb bitch and the dumb house niggers who liked your post. I stated the truth. Also, there would have been a rush Limbaugh apology from the company after the media attention this event would receive.

  • YP

    I couldn’t agree with you more. As an attorney, I quickly clicked on the link to read further. Only to find out that some jerks were talking to each other and not directing any of their words to her. If she was offended she should have contacted their employer. If I had been in her position I would have changed seats, or simply asked them to keep it down. She was at the conference representing her employer so she should not have put that picture of them on twitter. She has a right to be offended at what she heard but she completely overreacted.

    Clutch- I love your site, but please re-read the legal definition of sexual harassment because this article is very misleading.

  • Tetra

    The conversation was not private…. Also. they were talking to her.

  • http://flightymusings.wordpress.com Simpli

    Clutch, thanks for bringing this story to light. After I read about the incident here, I followed the link and then continued to google what was going on. I find it astounding the type of responses that people are given. I am getting the impression that people are purposefully trying to demonize Ms. Richards in-order to shut-down the conversation about sexism within the tech industry.

    I don’t know if these individuals have a Google alert set on Adria Richards name, but every article that I have read that talks about the incident has comments that completely derail the conversation about sexism and instead start attacking Richards’ character.

    What is a private conversation? This keeps coming up, how is a conversation private if you are having it loudly in a crowded conference. A professional conference where sexually suggestive jokes shouldn’t even be occurring. This is common sense.

    Then there is the idea of public shaming, in this day and age nothing is truly private. People tweet about people and things that they find ridiculous, annoying, dumb etc. We are in an information age. She was bothered by what occurred, on her site she talks about her reasoning for not addressing the issue directly. She says:

    “I considered:The type of event.The size of the audience. How the conference had emphasized their Code of Conduct. What I knew about the community and their diversity initiatives. How to address this issue effectively and not disrupt the main stage”

    Based on what I read I had the impression that she felt she took the action she felt would get the best response. Looking at the picture there is so much the can be inferred about the type of response she may have received if she had confronted the men directly. The majority of the individuals in the photo are male and white. She is one of the few females in the audience, and one of the few minorities as well (double whammy). Most likely her complaints would have been dismissed by men who would feel that what they were saying was harmless and she was overreacting.

    Looking at the commentary, that is the conclusion people are reaching. That she is oversensitive, with a victim mentality, always looking for a situation to claim the mantle of victim-hood.

    There are certain trigger words being thrown around (hard to work with, sensitive, etc.) that imply that she is just an angry black woman looking for a reason to vent.

    I love the fact that she brought the situation to twitter because it highlights the true problems within the industry and emphasizes why it has been unable to diversify like many other industries, it forces the situation to not be ignored.

    Sorry for the essay.

  • http://twitter.com/Copperflowers Cynthia A. Jones (@Copperflowers)

    So men should not do the same, which would have prevented this entire situation? Really?!

  • mr.fierce

    by that same logic, she got herself fired.

  • Fantastico

    It’s unfortunate that you got so many down votes.

    Sexist jokes and people who participate in them would be nonexistent if sexism did not exist. The jokes reflect the dynamics of sexism in our larger society.

    +1000 @The Moon in the Sky

  • Fantastico

    Yeah, like a previous comment said would have been laughed away and brushed off if she made a formal report. This type of workplace sexism is not taken seriously in most corporations.

  • Fantastico

    @ mr.fierce she didn’t show her ass. She simply spoke up about a wrong and was punished for it. Would you say Rosa Parks was “showing her ass” when she got punished?

  • Fantastico

    She heard these lewd comments thus she is subject to them. People have a right to say what ever they want in the privacy of their home, but they were at a work conference.

    Don’t fault her for their lack of respect.

  • Fantastico

    Work is not private.

  • Fantastico

    They were talking about women. Ain’t she a woman?

  • ….

    You can’t really tell exactly what they were referencing…all we know is that it was a sexual joke.Also,by looking at the pic she took you can see that there was a nice distance between her and these men meaning she could have easily ignored the jokes that they were telling to EACHOTHER.She made it a point to Eavesdrop.

  • dtafakari

    What happened and what is happening to Ms. Richards is awful. Joke or no joke, everyone has the right to work in an environment free from sexual comments, whether they are overheard or spoken directly. The men were unprofessional.

    However, SendGrid probably has social media AND sexual harassment policies that outline appropriate measures to take in similar situations. Ms. Richards, acting as a representative of her company, did not have the right or permission to publicize the men’s actions or words. There are people and policies in place to deal with harassment and while she did report it partially correctly, the Twitter vigilante justice was unprofessional of her. Just because you have a Twitter account does not give you carte blanche to post whatever; no matter how morally right your cause may be. Unfortunate.

  • p

    If her actions warranted rape threats yep. Put them on blast. Obviously they thought they could get away with it. #jail only if speaking to them was not successful or authorities

  • p

    Just because they are in the good ole boy network doesnt give them the right to do whatever they want however tweeting the photo may b a little much but they made the comments she didnt.

  • p

    I think posting it was not the best bc shes not the police HOWEVER you are not supposed to be making lewd commentz at WORK if she didnt they wouldnt have been spoken to so it all works out. I dont like sendgrid using their power and intimidation to fire her because reporting lewd behavior is not wrong. Publically using a photo with no release or permission might be tho but i doubt that is grounds for dismissal. Unless its being done in a negative way. No one likes to have their sins on blast so she shoukd have spoken to them or a manager. But some folks think they are above the law

  • http://glonq.wordpress.com glonq

    Abusing the term “harassment” damages the legitimacy of this word and does a great disservice to all men and women. Stop for a second and think about what the word means. Think about instances where you have seen actual sexual harassment take place. Think about when serious sexual harassment has taken place. And minor harassment. And deliberate. And unintentional.

    Do we really want to redefine “sexual harassment” to include eavesdropping a “dongle” joke that is less suggestive that penis jokes that Adria herself makes in public?

  • dtafakari

    @glonq, Harassment includes (overheard, even) sexually suggestive jokes in a workplace, or in a work-sponsored environment. She is no more right than they are (if it’s true that she has done so) to make suggestive jokes in a work environment. No one is quite redefining the term; my HR directors have made it perfectly clear at my job that if anyone hears you talking about sex at work, you can get reported with the quickness.

  • Chris

    I was raised by a single, feminist mother and a progressive and worldly grandmother, both who were subjected to emotional and physical abuse by several men in their lives and their experiences molded them each into the amazing women that they were while raising my sister and I so I think I can safely say, I respect women and the many trials the face. That said, GROW UP. Seriously. I’m sorry, I know I will piss some of you off by this but this is not harassment. She overheard a conversation between two colleagues that was not related to her and took it upon herself to decide she was a victim of “sexual harassment” and then decided to take a photo of them, placed it on Twitter in an attempt to publicly shame these two men because she took issue with their PRIVATE conversation. She invaded their privacy. She took the liberty of involving their company’s name as well as her own without their consent or any consideration over the events in question. She played the victim in a matter that ultimately did not involve her and she got burned. That’s what happens when you’re an adult. Cause and effect bring about ramifications so I feel no pity. Its an issue of rational thinking vs. ego and rampant sensitivity. If she was truly bothered by the conversation between these two men, then why not have the courage to simply lean back and say, “Hey guys. We’re at a conference. Shut the hell up!” “The War against Women”? Seriously? Articles and incidents like this overshadow real sexual harassment and turn them into nothing more than a bad barroom joke. Way to go ladies.

  • Ash K

    “I don’t know if these individuals have a Google alert set on Adria Richards name…” I’ve been wondering this myself. I read the story on a few different sites (some I visit quite frequently) and something fishy is going on in some of these comment sections.

    Your comment is excellent!

  • Courtnie

    I won’t support her. If she was bothered by the comments the men were making then she should have turned around and said something to them. These men were having a private conversation and instead of her letting them know that it made her uncomfortable then she decided she would try and get them in trouble. These comments weren’t directed toward her. It doesn’t seem that these comments were directed toward anyone. Has she never made an inappropriate joke to a friend? Doubtful. Things like this downplay actual sexual harassment. As a woman, what this woman did disturbs me. Should she be receiving threats? No. But should she have reported it without saying something to these men first? No. Should she have tweeted a photo of the men? Certainly not!! She completely overreacted. Those men probably didn’t even know she could hear them.

  • Chris

    Thank you! Finally someone with some common sense!

  • The Moon in the Sky

    People who sexually harass others usually don’t do so openly.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Exactly.

  • The Comment

    Girl thank you and praise the Lord cause I’m like….

    homegirl?????? this wasn’t even about you? Unless they were plotting to blow up a business then you need to mind yo own business. She trying to f*ck it up for everyone..cause that is how you learn about men…by hearing how they talk to each other.

    She need to get a life after she get a job.

  • http://twitter.com/imhotepimrn Imhotep Hester (@imhotepimrn)

    The war against women? Seriously? Adria Richards didn’t get fired for reporting “sexual harassment”, she got fired because after one of the developers she twitpic’ed got fired her company started loosing clients and was under DDoS attacks. SendGrid, like any other company doesn’t want to lose money. And if firing an employee or a group of employees will ensure that they do not loose money then that is exactly what they’ll do. It’s not rocket science.

  • Stock

    Except they guys didn’t harass her at all. They were talking among themselves and she overheard it. Not to mention the joke neither referenced females or any ethnic background.

    Man, when did this country lose it’s bearing so much that a simply anatomical joke, potty humor if you will, is suddenly harassment, sexist and racism or which it is neither. Next thing you know, we will be bringing 5 year old children to political correctness classes for making fart jokes.

    However, Adria did, in a follow up, comment on the way white males act.

    So let’s be real. Who is really being the sexist and racist in these comments and action to the situation. Adria is, not the devs. Sorry, but it is the facts of what happened and let’s not let that get thrown under the bus.

  • http://gravatar.com/addassamari Gail

    She does not deserved to be threatened.

    She deserved to be fired. Yes the conversation was inappropriate. There is a right way and a wrong way to handle such matters and her way was JUVENILE and thoroughly UNPROFESSIONAL.

  • http://gravatar.com/addassamari Gail

    Excellent point. The legal definition of sexual harassment is “unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment,” according to the ERA. The incident in question that sparked all this furor and by Ms. Richards words, the context of the conversation does not meet the parameters.

  • donnadara

    All you people who say she wasn’t harassed? Change the jokes to n****r jokes and tell me that is okay.

  • Courtnie

    From what we know, no comments were made toward or about any person or group of people. They didn’t say, “thoses b*tches need to be forked”, or “that chick has big dongles”, that would have been one thing. But just to laugh about “big dongles” making a play on the word is not sexual harassment.

  • LovestoTeach

    It is true that most sexual harassment takes place when no one else is in attendance. That way, the harasser has no audience and you have no proof of what took place. I most certainly understand the issue of disempowerment. Here is my story.

    I love teaching. It is a kind of ministry to young people. We excite them, we open doors for them, we talk about new ideas with them, get them engaged, give them opportunities to express themselves and have wonderful conversations. I love the possibilities.

    After a hard earned masters degree in graphic design and several years of industry experience often working 60 hour weeks, I accepted a position as an assistant professor of graphic design in the art department at Towson University in the fall of 2000. I was excited to enter this new chapter in my life. I was not prepared for what I was about to encounter. 

    The art department consisted of 16 full time faculty and many adjunct faculty. The majority of the tenured senior faculty were men. The majority of the nontenured faculty were women. What people don’t talk about is how dependent the junior faculty are on senior faculty. The imbalance of power is far stronger than the power imbalance of faculty to student. A student wants a good grade to move on to the next class. He or she wants to graduate or continue into a good graduate program, and eventually move away from the university. The junior faculty must have the approval and support of senior faculty for promotion, for raises, and for a permanent position in the department. The support of senior faculty is critical every year and at every juncture.

    No one discusses powerlessness. No junior professor would ever want to admit that she is subservient to a male, but this is exactly where I found myself between the years of 2000 to 2006. In 2001, the most senior faculty in the art department began to body bump me in the hallways. He was 6’1 and I am 4”11”. He eventually got me into his office where he told me repeadedly that he couldn’t take his eyes off of me, and stated that if I didn’t sleep with him, I wouldn’t get tenure. I knew that this was not acceptable behavior and let him know that I wasn’t interested. I also knew that this was a clear case of sexual harassment. So, I reported the incident to my chairperson and to the Dean of the school. The Dean advised me to let him know that I was not interested and to do this in front of other people so that there would be an audience. She reminded me that harassers are known to bully when no one else is around in order to ensure that there are no witnesses.

    On the following day, in front of two other faculty members, I told him that I wasn’t interested in him and that he was to leave me alone. I asked him if he understood and he replied yes. On the following day, as I was leading my class into a computer lab, one of the faculty who had been present the day before (also a male senior faculty) assaulted me. He threw me up against the door and shoved something hard into my back. I fell. I took a moment to get my breath. Shaking, I walked to the art office and reported this to my Chair. I was being physically attacked, intimidated, bullied, and harassed. I thought that, surely, something would be done to these two people, that some action would be taken. I had been harassed and assaulted. The law had been broken twice. I was in a state of shock.

    The institution launched a “so-called” full-scale investigation where all of the faculty in the department were questioned. I was told to keep quiet about it until it had been completed. Several faculty reported to me that this was not the first time these two had been in trouble. My own attorney interviewed every faculty member and found the same information and also found that these two senior faculty were best friends. But the institutions findings reported that nothing had happened. In fact, they began to launch an investigation into my background. I was hounded, harassed, and totally ignored. Everyday, my student display cases had garbage stuffed in them. No one would sit next to me in faculty meetings and I was not invited to departmental gatherings. I became a pariah. Then, the faculty tried to end my contract. However, both professors continued to sit on tenure and promotion committees and to fully participate in the running of the department.

    I experienced deep humiliation and embarrassment and I became deeply depressed. The non response from the university and the denial of all that took place coupled with their insistence that I keep quiet could not have been clearer. They were not going to take any action against these two professors. I can’t help but think of Penn State, the Catholic Church, and other instances where institutions coverup the actions of bullies. By doing nothing, the university condoned the illegal and unacceptable behavior. This incident would follow me to my next teaching job where I was blackballed by Towson University.
     
    Non-tenured professional women in academia don’t want to talk about these things. They live in fear that they will be next. Like dutiful daughters, they fall into lockstep with their powerful abusive ‘fathers’. They don’t dare question or complain. They are entirely dependent on these men for their future and their economic stability. How can one NOT talk about this power imbalance that forces us into subservience or the loss of employment?

    So, now I ask, how do we combat institutionalized brutality against women? We talk about equality in the workplace, but how do we deal with inequality and violence against women when it happens? What advice do we give our younger female professors when such instances arise? Speak up and forfeit your careers or stay silent and compromised? I still have no answers..

  • http://www.hairobicsallnatural.com Marissa

    Sexual harassment is a very serious issue. No one should ever have to be quiet about what they see taking place. Especially not a woman.

  • Raj Dutt

    How is it sexual harassment?. Just because she felt squeamish? Is that a woman thing? How do two guys behind her, talking between them, joking to themselves, and her hearing their conversation amount to sexual harassment? It wasn’t even about her!!
    I’m sorry for both parties and this shouldn’t have spiraled this much out of control but can someone please explain this to me?

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