Tech Startup Co-Founder Suspended After Allegations of Harassment
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The leadership team at San Francisco-based GitHub, a social network for software engineers, has suspended one of its co-founders amid allegations of harassment at the 6-year-old startup.
On Sunday, GitHub co-founder and chief executive Chris Wanstrath wrote on the company's blog that the GitHub is investigating claims made by former designer Julie Horvath that she was harassed by members of the leadership team, including a co-founder and his wife.
Although she didn't offer many details, Horvath took to Twitter late last week to make public her allegations of harassment. Here's a sampling:
I've been harassed by 'leadership' at GitHub for two years. And I am the first developer to quit.— Julie Ann Horvath (@nrrrdcore) March 15, 2014
There are good people at GitHub and leadership should be accountable to them, not predators and harassers.— Julie Ann Horvath (@nrrrdcore) March 15, 2014
To marginalized people everywhere, companies are not protecting you, they're protecting their worth. Don't be tricked. Protect yourself.— Julie Ann Horvath (@nrrrdcore) March 15, 2014
In a subsequent interview with TechCrunch, Horvath likened GitHub to a "boy's club" and said that she felt that she had been treated differently because she is a woman. She also talked about at least one "very inappropriate" conversation with the wife of one of the founders.
In addition to Wanstrath, GitHub was founded in 2008 by PJ Hyett and Tom Preston-Werner. Horvath hasn't said publicly which of the founders she is alleging is responsible for the harassment.
"While [the investigation is] ongoing, and effective immediately, the relevant founder has been put on leave, as has the referenced GitHub engineer. The founder’s wife discussed in the media reports has never had hiring or firing power at GitHub and will no longer be permitted in the office."
Since its founding, GitHub has grown to more than 200 employees and has raised $100 million from firms such as Andreessen Horowitz and SV Angel.
"I would like to personally apologize to Julie," Wanstrath wrote in the post. "It’s certain that there were things we could have done differently. We wish Julie well in her future endeavors."