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‘Boys’ club’

Tech startup sued over hostile ‘sexually focused’ work environment that included a ‘kink room’

May 17, 2017

California virtual reality startup UploadVR’s former director of digital and social media has reportedly sued the tech company for sexual harassment, sex and gender discrimination, and wrongful termination. The lawsuit specifically named UploadVR co-founders Will Mason and Taylor Freeman, who were both recently featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, for their alleged promotion of a “boys’ club” environment that “focused on sex and degrading women, including female employees.”

According to reports, UploadVR had been known for hosting parties at the company’s startup offices and other venues during conferences. At these parties, the lawsuit alleges, Mason and Freeman would brag about “how many girls they were going to have sex with” — even going so far as to designate a room at the office as a “kink room” in which employees could have sex. “Often, underwear and condom wrappers would be found in the room,” the lawsuit claims.

It’s further alleged that Mason, Freeman, and other male employees frequently subjected their own female employees to sexual harassment by talking about “how they were sexually aroused by female employees and how it was hard to concentrate and be productive when all they could think about was having sex with them.”

In addition to having to endure the “sexually focused” work environment, women in the office were reportedly paid less than male employees who performed the same roles. Women, the lawsuit contends, were also sidelined with menial work and denied reimbursement for necessary business expenses. The plaintiff in the suit has also claimed that she was wrongfully terminated.

In a statement made to TechCrunch, Mason and Freeman have denied the charges as being “entirely without merit.”

Read the full story at TechCrunch.


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