Techie Fired After Tweeting About Men’s Comments

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  • SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A female developer was fired after tweeting about a group of men she said were making sexual comments at a computer programming conference, fueling an already vigorous debate about gender equality and culture in Silicon Valley.

    Adria Richards wrote on her blog at that she was seated in a ballroom at the Santa Clara conference Sunday when the men behind her started talking about “big dongles.”

    A dongle is a device that plugs into a computer, but Richards tweeted that the men made the comment in a sexual way.

    After hearing their remarks, Richards turned around, took a photo of two men and posted it on Twitter with their alleged comments.

    Conference organizers said they were concerned by the tweet and quickly met with Richards and the men, who immediately apologized.

    “We pulled all the individuals aside. We got all sides of the story. They said she was right, and they were very apologetic,” said Jesse Noller, who chaired the conference, PyCon 2013, for people working on Python programming language.

    Richards worked for SendGrid, a technology company with offices in Orange County and Colorado. CEO Jim Franklin wrote on the company’s website that SendGrid agreed with Richards’ right to report the incident to Pycon staff, but not the way she reported it.

    “Her decision to tweet the comments and photographs of the people who made the comments crossed the line,” Franklin wrote in a blog post on the site. “Publicly shaming the offenders — and bystanders — was not the appropriate way to handle the situation.”

    Franklin said Richards put the company’s business in danger, divided the developer community and could no longer be effective at the company.

    One of the men in the photo Richards posted has also been let go from his job at San Francisco-based mobile game company PlayHaven.

    “PlayHaven had an employee who was identified as making inappropriate comments at PyCon, and as a company that is dedicated to gender equality and values honorable behavior, we conducted a thorough investigation. The result of this investigation led to the unfortunate outcome of having to let this employee go,” PlayHaven CEO Andy Yang said in a blog posting.

    The company did not release the name of the fired employee but said a second man in the photo “is still with the company and a valued employee.”

    “We believe in the importance of discussing sensitive topics such as gender and conduct, and we hope to move forward with a civil dialogue based on the facts,” Yang said.

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    3 thoughts on “Techie Fired After Tweeting About Men’s Comments

    1. When will people ever learn? Say it and forget, write it and regret it. If she was so bothered, why didn’t she just speak to them then and there? Why put it on display? It was between her and them. She should have kept it that way instead of trying to show what a brave woman she is by tattling on someone behind their backs. People really need to grow up.

    2. Bullshit! She wanted her tweet to go viral and be talked about in the positive but got caught dry snitching and was fired. Man telling jokes to one another had nothing to do with young women getting in the business. I have yet to hear of a woman turning down a great job because she don’t like the jokes male co-workers make to one another. I think this went too far as well with the companies. I company needs to know that I just work there! Period! I am not a role model for anyone other than my kids and those in my circle and I DO NOT REPRESENT THE COMPANY I WORK FOR! Once I’m off the clock it’s a wrap.

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