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Thinx co-founder and CEO Miki Agrawal. (Twitter)

Toxic culture

Co-founder of ‘period underwear’ Thinx accused of sexual harassment

March 21, 2017

The co-founder of Thinx, a company that makes “period panties” and ubiquitous subway ads, has been accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by a former employee.

According to New York magazine, the extensive legal complaint claims that Miki Agrawal committed a host of offenses in the workplace — among them stripping down in front of employees, touching an employee’s breasts, sharing explicit details about her sex life, body shaming the staff, and conducting FaceTime meetings while using the toilet.

Chelsea Leibow, the former head of public relations at Thinx, filed the complaint with the City of New York Commission on Human Rights. She told New York magazine that Agrawal had an “obsession” with her breasts and touched them without permission. “I didn’t say anything to her at the time,” Leibow said. “If you’ve ever been touched without your consent, you know it’s jarring. The whole atmosphere was one of ‘this is fine, this isn’t a big deal.’”

But in her complaint, Leibow goes further, claiming that Agrawal maintained a “generally aggressive and retaliatory demeanor” that fostered a culture of fear in the workplace. Leibow told New York magazine that when she tried to speak honestly about salaries or employment policies, Agrawal “would stew, treat you like shit, then pick a moment to blow up and tell you how ungrateful you are and how you should be thanking her for the opportunity, how dare you.”

On March 10, Jezebel reported that Agrawal had stepped down from her position as CEO at Thinx. In February, members of the company’s board reportedly interviewed staff about their experience working for Agrawal, and according to a New York Magazine source, “they were kind of horrified” by what they heard.

In an email to Jezebel, Agrawal maintained that she is “still the SHE-EO & Co-Founder of THINX.” She told New York magazine that the sexual harassment claims are “baseless” and have “absolutely no merit.” Agrawal also posted a lengthy essay on Medium in which she addressed criticism of how she ran the startup and reiterated her position that the allegations against her “have no merit.”

Read the full story at New York magazine.


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