Woman Boss at Thinx Company Accused of Sexual Harassment
I often see secular, left wing feminists deny that women can be terrible to women on the job. Of course, men can sometimes be horrible to other employees.
But in my time in the working world, while I was subjected to a few male jerks here and there, I also had to deal with rude, harassing, or awful female co-workers or female bosses. One of the all-time worse workplace bullying I ever encountered was at the hands of a FEMALE boss, not a male.
It’s a fact that there is such a thing as women bosses or women co-workers who harass other women workers, but feminists are loathe to admit this, because they seem to feel it bolsters sexist claims by men against women in the workplace.
The woman boss in this news report sounds absolutely disgusting and like a lunatic. And a control freak.
Also, it is sad to note that this supposedly “feminist” type company was AGEIST! They were ageist against any woman over the age of 29.
All the young ladies in this company, the ones being stalked by this perverted and creepy-sounding boss, should read the book “Boundaries” and related material.
Miki Agrawal, the co-founder of Thinx — a company that makes “period underwear” — doesn’t think much of boundaries. “I just love the taboo space,” she told New York last year, of her mission to (profitably) destigmatize menstruation. And in a promotional video for the product, she said, “My favorite thing to talk about are the things you’re not supposed to talk about.”
According to a complaint filed late last week by a former employee (and echoed in interviews with multiple current and former employees), those things have included: the size and shape of her employees’ breasts, an employee’s nipple piercings, her own sexual exploits, her desire to experiment with polyamory, her interest in entering a sexual relationship with one of her employees, and the exact means by which she was brought to female ejaculation.
Her alleged boundary-breaking in the workplace isn’t just verbal. Per the detailed complaint, filed with the City of New York Commission on Human Rights, Agrawal also touched an employee’s breasts and asked her to expose them, routinely changed clothes in front of employees, and conducted meetings via videoconference while in bed, apparently unclothed.
(She also is said in the filing to have shared nude photos of herself and others — “including but not limited to her fiancé” — with staff.) At least once, she supposedly FaceTimed into a meeting from the toilet.
The complaint, brought by Chelsea Leibow, the 26-year-old former head of public relations at the company — whose distinctive Thinx PR emails acquired some renown — also describes a culture of fear and a pattern of ageism, in which members of the mostly female, mostly 20-something staff were routinely referred to as “children,” with the few employees in their 30s tagged “nannies.”
The filing — which also names the company’s COO and CFO, for their failure to address repeated complaints about Agrawal’s behavior — comes on the heels, just over a week ago, of Agrawal’s leaving from her post as CEO (as first reported in Jezebel) and the publication of an article in Racked that made clear that, despite the company’s feminist branding and mission, the women who worked there felt exploited by low pay and substandard benefits.
The complaint notes that the only two employees who had evidently successfully negotiated higher salaries were men. Per Racked, 10 of the company’s 35 employees have left since January (a Thinx spokesperson says the number is lower but declined to specify); several others departed either voluntarily or were fired last year by Agrawal, whom staffers described as erratic, retaliatory, and extraordinarily difficult to work for.
…Leibow [a former employee at Thinx], who was fired in December after months of voicing concerns about Agrawal’s behavior, had started a year before and been promoted midyear. At first, the company culture seemed refreshingly “open and honest,” she said to me over the phone. A month or two after her arrival, however, Agrawal said she had an “obsession” with Leibow’s breasts, and “helped herself,” as Leibow put it to me last week. “I didn’t say anything to her at the time. 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.”
(In the formal language of the complaint, it was Agrawal’s “generally aggressive and retaliatory demeanor, position of authority, and style of management” that made Leibow too intimidated to speak up.) Leibow said that Thinx’s office setup — in a co-working space at the Centre for Social Innovation — meant it wasn’t only her own co-workers who could see it happen, adding to her embarrassment.
And yet, though other employees confirm that they saw their boss touching an employee’s breasts, no one stopped Agrawal or complained to her about it. “If someone had gone to her to complain,” another employee explained, “she would have held a grudge, and work becomes ten times harder when she does.”
…The incident, Leibow told me, developed into a pattern, with Agrawal regularly commenting on how Leibow’s breasts looked in various outfits, and touching them, both while the two were alone, and in front of others. Agrawal gave similar attention to other employees whose bodies Leibow described as, like her own, “curvy.” (According to the filing, Agrawal “molested at least one other female employee’s breasts.” Agrawal denies any breast-touching.)
…Agrawal — whose brand was lauded for its body positivity, and for including visible stretch marks in its advertising — also regularly engaged in what another employee termed “fat-shaming,” commenting on people’s weights either directly or behind their backs
…At an all-female underwear company with a casual office culture, nudity was perhaps not as shocking as it might have been in other work environments, but according to employees it was paired with a sexual aggressiveness that was disturbing. At one meeting in December 2015 just before the holidays, while staff ate cake, Agrawal launched a discussion of polyamory. She said she had an interest in it, and was considering trying it. She then pointed to employees individually and asked if they, themselves, had ever tried it.
… Separately, according to the complaint, Agrawal had directly expressed interest in a sexual or romantic relationship with another female employee; several current and former employees say that Agrawal frequently told her assistant, a lesbian, how “hot” she found her.
…One employee said that having sexually frank conversations with Agrawal was a tactic: “Once it turned into a thing, it made me feel like I had an in,” she explained. She said she doesn’t believe Agrawal was actually pursuing a sexual relationship with anyone at the company; rather, she called it performative. “She’s not a predator and it’s not malicious, but that doesn’t make it right. And it all boils down to the fact that she has no conception of it not being right.”
…If it’s surprising that more employees didn’t complain about the alleged sexual harassment, they point to the way that other complaints were handled by the company. “I can recall multiple occasions when I tried to be honest about salaries or employment policies,” Leibow said, and 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.”
… People on the creative and design teams [at Thinx], in particular, frequently had their jobs threatened for opposing Agrawal’s ideas, according to one current employee. At another employee forum, a current staffer criticized something Agrawal had done while representing the brand and, according to a source, the then-CEO later brought up the criticism at the woman’s performance review as something for which she “should” be firing her.
Agrawal is just as controlling about her own image. When I wrote a profile of her in January 2016 that Agrawal didn’t like (I quoted her saying that she hadn’t identified as a feminist until she started her company), she not only responded to the piece on Medium, but also, according to a former staffer, required employees at Thinx to leave comments on the piece at the Cut, praising her and Thinx.
Where the article says:
Agrawal’s methods of maintaining control over her staff were extreme, according to employees. She would tell staffers that if they quit, she wouldn’t ever recommend them to future employers, said one Thinx employee
That is actually illegal and/or you can be sued for doing that. It’s called black balling.
What a toxic work culture. The Agrawal woman sounds like a nightmare.