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UploadVR Had a 'Kink Room,' Pressured Female Employees To 'Microdose,' Alleges Lawsuit (gizmodo.com) 444

The virtual-reality company UploadVR is being sued by the company's former Director of Digital and Social Media for rampant sexual harassment. According to Gizmodo, "the lawsuit alleges that the company's employees and founders created a hostile work environment in which sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation occurred on a regular basis." From the report: In the suit documents, the former Director of Digital and Social Media for UploadVR claims that the office environment was a "boy's club" that employees expressly referred to as a "boy's club." From the suit: "Specifically, the male employees of UploadVR, including Mason and Freeman, would discuss their sexual exploits in graphic detail at the workplace in front of Plaintiff and other female employees. For instance, UploadVR employee [name redacted]'s sex life was a frequent topic of conversation. The other male employees would talk about how he 'refuses to wear a condom' and 'has had sex with over 1000 people.'" The documents also claim that employees were engaged in Silicon Valley's hot new trend of "microdosing" and "using Marijuana in the office." When female employees didn't want to participate, they would be ostracized by the male employees and excluded from important meetings and lunches.
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UploadVR Had a 'Kink Room,' Pressured Female Employees To 'Microdose,' Alleges Lawsuit

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  • "The other male employees would talk about how he 'refuses to wear a condom' and 'has had sex with over 1000 people.'"

    If you have sex with more than 1000 partners, are they really all *people* to you?

    • I suspect some of those "people" are knotholes and sheep.
    • If you have sex with more than 1000 partners, are they really all *people* to you?

      Err...not sure what you're talking about here. The article didn't mention beastiality or the like....

      If you're just trying to make some sort of point about the large number (1K)...well, you don't have to be in love with someone to fuck them....sex and love don't have to be combined in order to enjoy the act. Heck, often times, hookups are quite fun and more exciting that just hitting the same thing over and over and over and

  • Still don't know what 'microdosing' is.

    • Microdosing seems to be a type of homeopathy (ingesting extremely small quantities of things to elicit a response) that uses pharmaceutical or recreational drugs.

      Generally seems to be a thing for morons with money to burn.
    • Re:I RTFAd (Score:5, Interesting)

      by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @09:44AM (#54425889)
      exactly what it sounds like... taking a low dose of drugs. usually many times a day.
      the alcohol equivalent that most people have probably done would be taking one drink every hour or so, with water in-between so you can drink and socialize and get slightly affected without actually getting intoxicated.
      • exactly what it sounds like... taking a low dose of drugs. usually many times a day.

        Gee, not unlike caffeine addicts taking shots all day from a dealer named Keurig...ain't it funny how we demonize certain stimulants and champion others...

    • Basically, it's taking small doses of LSD for "enlightenment" and stuff.

      The "Reply All" podcast did a good explanation of this, where someone on their staff actually tried it out. It didn't work out that well for him.

  • I"m surprised to see people defending this behavior. If talking about sexual exploits at work is considered acceptable then society is truly going down the toilet. What a great new America you are building there.
    • Wow, you guys really are neo puritans.

      In the 90's liberals would have called you fascists.

      • Talk how you want on your personal time is your business. When you are in a professional setting you be sensitive to the requirements of the people in that setting. What would you do if you went to an important business meeting and talked about sex only to find the peopl you were meeting with were devoutly catholic?
    • I have no idea where these people work but this would not be considered remotely acceptable at any place I have ever worked. I can't imagine a professional company putting up with this kind of behavior.

      I would hate to explain to the FAA, FDA etc why a plane crashed or a drug killed people and have them find out about this kind of behavior. You would be nailed to the wall.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ooloorie ( 4394035 )

      I"m surprised to see people defending this behavior. If talking about sexual exploits at work is considered acceptable then society is truly going down the toilet.

      Of course, it's not "acceptable". But the way a free society deals with "not acceptable" behavior is by people voting with their feet, not by calling in the STASI.

      What a great new America you are building there.

      No, it is absolutely not "great" or even "acceptable" that the federal government gets involved in questions of whether men are behaving n

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        A free society protect's people's freedoms by ensuring that they can work and live a reasonably free life. If you live in a country where no-one will give you a job because of your gender, "voting with your feet" is kinda difficult. You are not very free because you have no money and no opportunity to earn it.

        Freedom isn't just "leave me alone, let people do whatever the hell they like". It's a balance between allowing as much as possible but also protecting people from some harmful behaviour. Even the most

  • No surprise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Egos are out of control in tech. The fact that they are high all the time is most definitely reflected in their ridiculous and hair-brained ideas. It makes it that much easier to pull the rug out from inder them. A lot of new tech will fail due to their being a bunch of hateful, oblivious, drug-addled douchebags that were only suffering from adolescent superiority complexes rather than a actually ever having been all that bright in the first place. Pathetic, all of them, from top to bottom.

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @09:55AM (#54425945) Homepage

    Hay, it's a free country. If you don't like assholes and drugs then move out of California.

  • Boys will be boys. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @10:06AM (#54426023) Homepage Journal

    Which is why boys need adult supervision. Men, specifically, to set an example.

    A man acts with dignity, self-restraint, and consideration for others. He doesn't do shit just because the people around him are doing it, and he doesn't pressure other people do things without a good reason.

    If none of that sounds like any fun, feeling obligated to impress other guys with bullshit isn't any fun either. It's a bigger, more joyless burden than acting like a grownup, you just haven't figured that out yet.

    • It's about being professional. Professionalism is definitely taking a hit in tech.
      • "Professional" only means "doing it for money". Nothing else.

        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @12:05PM (#54427009) Homepage Journal

          "Professional" only means "doing it for money". Nothing else.

          You know, I was going to note that the atmosphere was unprofessional, except that I suspected we've reached a point where people don't even know what professionalism means.

          Of course contrary to your claim there are in fact many different definitions for the world "professional", the one I'm talking about is the antonym of "unprofessional", the one you're talking about is the one that's the antonym of "hobbyist". You are talking about people like professional competitive eaters; I'm talking about people like civil engineers.

          Professionalism is performing a job in a way that maintains public trust and respect for people who do that job. There are certain vocations, like accountant, or physician, where public trust is essential to their very function. But anyone can act professionally, in the sense of being demonstrably worthy of trust. I once was IT director of a company and had irreconcilable differences with the COO. I could have done a lot of damage to that company, instead I resigned. I took my second in command to the CFO's office and removed an envelope from the safe there where I had put all my passwords in a sealed envelope for safekeeping. Then, with my back turned and the CFO looking on I walked her through revoking all the access I had to the company's systems.

          It was deliberately theatrical, because as a professional you don't just have an obligation to do the right thing, you have to be seen doing the right thing.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is what is known as "toxic masculinity". There is toxic femininity as well, which is also pretty bad, but in this case it's that pressure to be a macho asshole, bragging about your conquests and doing drugs because you "aren't afraid" and shit like that.

      It's a dumb thing to do anyway. Guys who brag about their sexual partners might get some positive reaction from their male friends, but it's a strong signal to women as well. That signal being, avoid this guy like the plague because he will tell everyon

      • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @11:03AM (#54426533) Journal
        It's not masculine at all. Running around with no self control over what you say or do just makes you a child.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      My thought was "Who does this?" I get there's a lot of group dynamics involved, some leaders and influencers and a bunch of followers, but this kind of thing seems to cross so many obvious lines that it's kind of surprising that you could get so many people to go along with it.

  • Boys will be Boys and have their fun... Time to hire some men who have matured and have some respect for others I guess.. Of course, if management is full of boys instead of men.. Have fun trying to fix this.

    What is this culture thing where women are treated this way? My father taught me to respect women both by respecting my mother and insisting I do the same. Come on boys, grow up...

  • TFA is even better than the summary - allegations of absolutely incredible misbehavior. The interesting thing is: There's not any wiggle room: the craziest allegations can be easily proven (like: sending a email around the office with your STD test results).

    That said, neutral journalism it's not. The allegations are very clearly heterosexual allegations (men interested in women). So when the author writes:

    the employees allegedly had a “kink room” in the office that contained a bed and was intend

    • by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @10:55AM (#54426481)

      then it is absolutely wrong to write that "male" employees used the room, because they will have used it together with their female sexual partners. Which makes one suspect that this is not a men-harrassing-women problem, but more generally an entirely inappropriate, sexually-loaded work environment, with both men and women acting out in unprofessional ways.

      The men who used the room did not necessarily have to bring female employees into the room. They could have used it with women who were not employees. And those women could have been acting quite professionally in their particular career.

  • 1999 is calling... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @10:39AM (#54426345)

    Putting aside the harassment claims for a second, this sounds like what happens when you have an immature "executive team" running a company fueled by large VC investments. If a company's culture encourages a frathouse mentality, and its executives display that culture, that's exactly what regular employees will see and emulate. It goes down to the department level too - I've worked in IT departments for a number of companies, and there are always problem child departments, usually sales. Some salespeople are just walking sexual harassment lawsuits waiting to happen, and companies tend to turn a blind eye to it when they're "rockstar" salespeople. Working in software, there's just some guys you don't want to get paired with on customer visits because they're just embarrassing. Watching an overweight middle aged balding sales dude hitting on a customer's receptionist or female employees (unsuccessfully) is cringe-worthy.

    I do think that years of anonymous online communication as a primary means of interaction does contribute to some of the problems. I'm a guy, and a very liberal laid-back one at that, but it would never occur to me to say or do anything unprofessional at work. I've mentioned on here in the past (and been raked over the coals for it) that people need to understand that free speech doesn't mean you can let whatever comes to your mind slip out. People need to learn impulse control, and not seeing the other person on the other end of your conversation emboldens people to say things they normally wouldn't. Look at any comments section on any online news outlet that uses Facebook logins - even with a person's name, picture and sometimes employment history written right out there, I have a hard time envisioning some people saying the things they say in a public setting.

    What I think is funny is that this second tech bubble is playing out almost exactly the way the first one did. We're headed for the top -- products and services are getting wackier every day, there's a million copycats of every single idea trying to squeeze out the last few VC dollars in a space, and the investors are finally starting to shut off the money faucets. It's almost like 1999 never happened, and no one alive at that time has any memory of it. This is going to be one of many flame-out stories in the next 2 or 3 years.

  • by AntronArgaiv ( 4043705 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @11:16AM (#54426629)

    If I had found myself working in a company full of "bros" like this, I would be looking for a way out.

    But then, I'm over 50. Way over 50. The testosterone poisoning has abated. But I do have a daughter, and
    seeing women treated like that would probably cause me to drop a dime.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb