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SendGrid Fires Employee After Firestorm Over Inappropriate Jokes 1145

tsamsoniw writes "Hoping to strike a blow against sexism in the tech industry , developer and tech evangelist Adria Richards took to Twitter to complain about two male developers swapping purportedly offensive jokes at PyCon. The decision has set into motion a chain of events that illustrate the impact a tweet or two can make in this age of social networking: One the developers and Richards have since lost their jobs, and even the chair of PyCon has been harassed for his minor role in the incident."
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SendGrid Fires Employee After Firestorm Over Inappropriate Jokes

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  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:17PM (#43240763)

    only one comment was sexual in nature. the dongle one. the other one was about forking being a form of flattery [], which adria misconstrued as sexual. just as the dongle comment was inappropriate, it was equally inappropriate to post their picture to twitter w/o even confronting them.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:21PM (#43240825)

    From this recent posting [] it seems that she, too, appreciates doing colorful comments.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:39PM (#43241095) Homepage
    She is someone who has said things like black people can't be racist like whites and posted pictures of playing card games making fun if AIDS. While those aren't the worst things ever she made herself look like a hypocritical ass while dragging her employer into it. To the point of openly saying they support her which may or may not have been true. People have been fired for a lot less than that in the US.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:40PM (#43241107)

    Your thinking is sexist.... What makes you think only women can make sexual harassment charges?

    From the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (

    "Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex."

  • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:10PM (#43241465)

    Relational aggression: []

    Richards didn't confront the people who allegedly offended her. She did nothing in person to convey that she found the comments made inappropriate. What she did was and use her influence to damage the commenters' social status. Basically, this is how females fight. Guys are fucking useless at this shit and don't understand it.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gamanimatron ( 1327245 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:22PM (#43241579) Journal
    I'm not sure firing her was an over-reaction. Her employer is trying to be a five-nines service provider. Her poor judgement got their services DDoS'd off the net for 5 hours today. Sounds like a pretty good case for firing to me.

    Incidentally, I'm working with a customer of that company right now, and their downtime caused us a bunch of extra work. But I'm not bitter. Not at all.
  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Informative)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:32PM (#43241675)

    double ententdre are intolerable and offensive.

    Usually the jokes aren't double entendre, but just bad puns. "I'd like to fork her with my dongle" is not a double entendre. There is no literal meaning (you might laod a fork on a dongle, but you wouldn't "fork" a person, nor would a dongle help you accomplish it if you could). It's a single entendre. That's just a bad pun. Hearing she brought her leftovers and remarking loudly "I'd like to taste her soufflé" could be a double entendre, and contains no puns.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:03PM (#43241907)

    more: check this gem out!

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:39PM (#43242229)

    She also has a tweet where she says, "Black people CANNOT be racist against White people. Racism is a position of the oppressor who has the power.".

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rakarra ( 112805 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:53PM (#43242329)

    I loved that ad. I couldn't believe they would print something that racy in a trade mag. It sure made me take notice! []

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by makomk ( 752139 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:34PM (#43242625) Journal

    True, but this this isn't the first time she's made questionable allegations of sexism []. If it hadn't blown up and resulted in someone being sacked, it wouldn't have been the most impressive one either; her T-shirt stunt involved her being actively hostile towards a woman who wanted to include (non-sexualised) depictions of women, and who could've avoided the whole fuss if the T-shirt went with the safe option and used the stereotypical male geeks. She's an active disincentive to including women.

  • Re:Twitter-shaming. (Score:5, Informative)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:43PM (#43242713)

    We weren't there. We didn't hear what was said. We don't know how offensive it might have been.

    It was so offensive that ONE person said ANYTHING about it.

    Women live in a culture where the NORMAL response to reporting rape or sexual assault is to be asked what they did to provoke it

    I'm not sure what country you live in, but PyCon was held in my country, its called America, and women haven't actually felt that way any time in my entire life, and my understanding is that it was that way some time before I was born as well. How many times have you been raped and had someone ask you what you did to deserve it? Perhaps the problem is you and what you believe rather than reality.

    If you wanted things to truely be equal you wouldn't be treating sexual assault differently than any other kind of assault. You don't want to be treated the same, you want to be treated the same when it suits you, and special when it suits you better.

    You are not a normal woman, you're just a bitch with an agenda. You're an insult to women.

  • Re:Twitter-shaming. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Macgrrl ( 762836 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:54PM (#43242809)

    While women may not be charged with adultery after rape in the US (or other parts of the western world) like they are in predominately muslim countries, the way they are treated by law enforcement, the courts and the public in general isn't far removed.

    The girl involved in the Steubenville rape case I mentioned in my previous post was threatened with death and physical harm on social media for the 'harm' she was doing to the local football team by pursuing charges. She didn't initiate the rape, she certainly didn't actively participate in carrying herself around unconscious and penetrating her on video and uploading it to youtube - but she was the one getting threats for derailing the lives of those fine upstanding you men.

    I'm not trying to conflate off colour comments with rape - but they are all part of the same spectrum (opposite ends) which says men can impose their sexuality on women in whatever form they want at whatever time they want and if a woman complains she's at fault, humourless or contributed to provoking the men to act that way in the first place.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zaiff Urgulbunger ( 591514 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @12:55AM (#43243453)
    Link []
  • True, but.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @04:37AM (#43244231)

    There was a much more informative post that got skipped :

    A few details you might wish to know about the incident :

    0. SendGrid is an email spammer. Yes, they only send legal spam, stuff the direct marketers want you to call bacn, but really most of the emails they send you do not want. Anything bad that happens to SendGrid is a good thing.

    1. Apparently mr-hank only made one sexual crack, the dongles one. He apologized for that one quickly. Richards miss-interpreted his "forking" comment as sexual, actually homosexual. If you really believed she took offense to what he actually said, then you'd eventually conclude that she was a homophobe. That isn't correct. She simply miss-heard him.

    2. Richards has pissed people off by pulling similar publicity stunts several times before :

    3. Ms Richards defense of her actions was completely fucking bonkers. Some girl "would never have the chance to learn and love programming because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so." Really? Joan of Arc? Really? Pfff. She's simply grandstanding to her twitter followers.

    4. Richards made a much worse joke about some guys balls much more publicly on twitter earlier in the day.

    5. PlayHaven isn't such a nice company either. In game micro-transactions sounds like your business is built upon ripping off poor people. It doesn't bother me as much as spam since I don't play any games like that, but worth mentioning.

    Anyways I hope Mr-Hank and Richards find new jobs quickly and that SendGrid continues to lose business.

  • Re:True, but.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @12:17PM (#43247513)

    "0. SendGrid is an email spammer. Yes, they only send legal spam, stuff the direct marketers want you to call bacn, but really most of the emails they send you do not want. Anything bad that happens to SendGrid is a good thing."

    If by spam your view is that all mass mail, including that which is specifically opt-in is spam then sure, but that's a definition of spam pretty much no one else recognises.

    There are many legitimate uses of SendGrid and they explicitly try and ensure their servers are viewed as trustworthy by spam filters by explicitly actively dealing with people who send unsolicited mail.

    Companies use them for everything from opt-in newsletters, to sales/invoice confirmation dispatch for e-commerce companies, to couriers dispatching delivery updates, to internal corporate newsletters, and many other things.

    Your understanding of what SendGrid is is completely wrong. There is a legitimate need for high volume e-mail dispatch services, and someone has to provide that. As providers go SendGrid does a good job of keeping spammers off the network and as someone who has worked on a completely non-spam high volume mail system for a client I can assure you they put a lot of effort into vetting you before you can even use them - i.e. they want evidence of domain ownership, description and samples of e-mails you intend to send (and diverging from the types of e-mails is grounds for termination). They seem to have effective policies for individuals wanting to complain about unsolicited mail sent from their servers too.

    It's like saying Slashdot is a child porn site because some troll once probably linked kiddie porn here or whatever.

  • Re:More facetime (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2013 @12:18PM (#43247517)

    No, she - and you, are completely wrong, and the reason is so trivially simple that it's a wonder you don't understand it. Racism is about treating someone based upon their race rather than as an individual. To summarise how black people can be racist, when I was at school in the 80s we had 3 black kids in our class (UK, inner London school). Two considered themselves to be Jamaican, and therefore would pick on the third who they considered to be African. Their interaction with him consisted of bullying, abuse based upon his perceived country of origin etc. Racism may be about power, but it is a position of power *under the circumstances* not whether you have over-arching power in society at large.

  • Re:True, but.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @01:03PM (#43248117) Homepage Journal

    The Amanda Blum blog is damned informative. Thanks for posting the link.

    One of the things Blum mentions is that Richards' only real offense in this case was not just turning around and telling the guys to knock it off. I agree -- in my experience, conflict resolution works best at the lowest level. If the guys had become unreasonable, then she could have gotten hold of PyCon people. Praise in public, correct in private.

    The fact that this is a trend with Richards makes it a lot easier to understand why SendGrid let her go.

  • Re:True, but.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @04:33PM (#43251155) Homepage Journal

    Maybe you should look up the Urban Dictionary definition for assclown [], assclown.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.