TV Tropes Org

Forums

search forum titles
google site search
Total posts: [44]
1
2

Brad Wardell is a Living PSA Cartoon: Stardock Sexual Harassment Case:

Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Some of you may be familiar with Stardock, the game studio responsible for Galactic Civilisations and Sins of a Solar Empire. Some of you may also be familiar with Brad Wardell, their CEO and a major voice in the anti-DRM movement.

Recently, Wardell sued his former marketing director, Alexandra Miseta, for stealing/deleting vital marketing materials when she left the company in 2010. However, this allegation soon turned out to be full of holes, not least of which being the reason Miseta was leaving the company - she was suing him for protracted sexual harassment and creating a toxic working environment. Kotaku article here.

This is where things started getting interesting. Among other things, Wardell replied to an e-mail in which Miseta asked him to stop harassing him with the following (emphasis added):

Hi Alexandra,

Thank you for bringing these up to me as I certainly do not want you to feel uncomfortable at work.

I don't recall item #1 but will certainly endeavor to be extra careful.

I understand #2. I will be more conscious of this in the future.

#3, however is not acceptable to me. I am an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing person and I'm not inclined to change my behavior. If this is a problem, you will need to find another job.

#4, Again, I am not willing to adapt my behavior to suit others. IF you find my behavior problematic, I recommend finding another job.

I'm not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job here, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).

While I certainly agree that your rights as a person (certainly in terms of physical contact or interms of comments made towards you regarding your private live) take precedence over my rights as the owner of the business, that is as far as it goes.

I sincerely apologize for offending you while on our trip. I certainly would never intentionally try to upset you or make you uncomfortable and will endeavor to avoid doing so in the future. However, I won't change my basic personality to suit anyone (i.e. being an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar and embarrassing person).

Kind regards,

Brad

For the record, the four points she raised were (paraphrased):

1. Stop touching my hair.

2. Stop badmouthing my fiancee.

3. Stop cracking sexist jokes around me.

4. Stop badmouthing coworkers behind their backs.

He also sent her a hundred-question 'purity exam' (including questions about whether she'd engaged in group sex and/or bestiality) and expressed interest in knowing what her score was, linked sexually explicit Youtube videos, and asked her to attend a media tour because "her nipples looked better on TV".

Not only that, but his lawyers' motion for dismissal of her harassment claim (linked in the Kotaku article) was swiftly thrown out by the judge, perhaps because it suggested she had invited workplace harassment by drinking in bars in her free time (no, I don't get it either) and modelling mixed-martial-arts clothing as a side job (including citing a Facebook comment by someone else about her 'hot ass' as evidence that she totally had it coming, the filthy slut), tried to show he wasn't sexist by publishing an employee evaluation e-mail in which he said a female candidate was "not particularly pretty, but very ambitious" (emphasis his), and had employees give identical answers (two people said that "this relaxed, informal environment is one of the reasons I work at Stardock", for instance).

The response to the motion to dismiss by Miseta's legal team also had some good stuff - among other things, Wardell said that "the way I see it I can walk around naked in my office and if I can't I won't have one". Also, some testimonies from former Stardock employees.

Perhaps one Wardell e-mail sums the whole thing up:

I maintain my view that as the primary shareholder of the corporation that I am free to do what I choose so long as it does not violate the rights of others. Hence, if I "jokingly" (quote-marks his) touched Alexandra's hair or teased her about her fiancee, I respect her request that this should cease. However, my general obnoxiousness is not subject to change and I would terminate the corporation and all jobs within it if I felt my rights were being curtailed.

I thought that the Card-Carrying Villain was supposed to be a fictional trope?

edited 8th Sep '12 5:58:48 AM by Iaculus

Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 2 Willbyr, Sat, 8th Sep '12 6:35:57 AM from North Little Rock, AR Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Anime-ted
It's really unbelievable how vapidly idiotic some people can be. Good on the judge for throwing that out.
Gunpla is amazing!
Dammit why Stardock of all companies?

They're one of the good ones...

Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up][up]Perhaps I should explain for anyone who doesn't get it - this is still going ahead in court. What Wardell failed to do was persuade the judge to dismiss the case.

[up]Were. Apparently, they've been short on good games lately - Elemental and its sequel were pretty shitty.

edited 8th Sep '12 6:42:53 AM by Iaculus

Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 5 The Bat Pencil, Sat, 8th Sep '12 7:27:56 AM from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Are we sure that this guy isn't Mr Burns?

edited 8th Sep '12 7:31:43 AM by TheBatPencil

I couldn't possibly comment.
 6 Tuefel Hunden IV, Sat, 8th Sep '12 7:53:37 AM from Wandering. Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchmen of the Apocalypse
Wow that is pretty damn sleezy. It still amazes me sometimes that people can behave so badly and so disrespectfully to others.
"Who watches the watchmen?"
 7 pagad, Sat, 8th Sep '12 8:38:38 AM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
What the actual fuck...?

That's all of my considerable respect for Stardock defenestrated in one go. I had heard that Wardell was somewhat up his own arse, but his behaviour here is atrocious.
Man thinks he has a right to harass his employees. The law disagrees.

 9 The Bat Pencil, Sat, 8th Sep '12 8:53:22 AM from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Admit it, though - it's so over-the-top that it does start to become kinda funny. Like a bad, black and white PSA film about sex.
I couldn't possibly comment.
 10 rmctagg09, Sat, 8th Sep '12 9:18:55 AM from Brooklyn, NY Relationship Status: I won't say I'm in love
The Wanderer
If this was a TV show, we'd be lambasting it for cartoon villainy.
Hugging a Vanilluxe will give you frostbite.

It's typed rmctagg09.
 11 C0mraid, Sat, 8th Sep '12 10:27:35 AM from Here and there
[up] I don't know. The e-mail reminded me of House.

A lot of people have to put up with employers like this, paticularly in low wage jobs. Hopefully this guy will get what he deserves.
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous- Almost, at times, the fool.
Raven Wilder
He might actually have a point here. Something only counts as sexual harrassment if it's not a necessary part of the job; for instance, a pornographic actor can't really complain if they're touched inappropriately and called vulgar names, so long as it's part of a scene they're filming.

Theoretically, if he says that his company's purpose is to provide him with people to insult and objectify, and if he makes it clear to employees that taking such abuse is part of their duties, he might have a case.

edited 8th Sep '12 10:44:22 AM by RavenWilder

"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 13 CPF Mfan, Sat, 8th Sep '12 10:44:41 AM from A Whale's Vagina
I am serious. This is my serious face.
This story is hilarious. I have no idea why anyone would flat out say that they were a "sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing person" in response to an email about sexual harassment. I'm kind of surprised that massive amounts of people aren't suddenly calling it a fake and badly written attempt to slander him. I don't even know if simply cracking sexist jokes or talking about people behind their backs is considered sexual harassment- if it was, everyone everywhere in every job would be guilty.

edited 8th Sep '12 10:58:38 AM by CPFMfan

...
 14 Chalkos, Sat, 8th Sep '12 10:45:59 AM from The Internets
Sidequest Proliferator
Yeah, I don't think so. It would be frankly ludicrous to suggest that "provide Brad Wardell with someone to crudely objectify" is a part of the job description, or that it was a clause in the contract.

Euo will do!
[up][up][up]You're kidding me.surprised You actually fell for that codswallop? There's no way on Earth he could spin that case into any existence under even US laws. Please... get real. Sexual harassment is sexual harassment.

[up][up]I'd agree about the behind-the-back thing. Makes you a jerk, but isn't actually sexual harassment unless it's targeted specifically on a such a subject that makes the person he's actually talking to want to squirm and get a bath. <shrugs> Which, considering what he seems to have done up front... probably isn't out of the question. tongue

edited 8th Sep '12 10:50:40 AM by Euodiachloris

"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Admit it, though - it's so over-the-top that it does start to become kinda funny. Like a bad, black and white PSA film about sex.

Oh, you don't know the half of it. Other examples of his... unique brand of humour include bringing drones into the office to freak out employees with bee allergies and parking across three disabled spaces outside the Stardock building.

I'm just waiting for a video of him eating a live kitten to show up on Youtube.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 17 Tuefel Hunden IV, Sat, 8th Sep '12 11:05:56 AM from Wandering. Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchmen of the Apocalypse
laculus: If he really did those things he is colossal dick.
"Who watches the watchmen?"
Unchanging Avatar.
In person, yeah. But over the Internet? It's so cartoonishly evil that it qualifies for Actually Pretty Funny. I'm having trouble getting outraged.
Except for 4/1/2011. That day lingers in my memory like...metaphor here...I should go.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up][up]I posted the evidence. Click the links.

Dude redefines 'hostile work environment'.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 20 Tuefel Hunden IV, Sat, 8th Sep '12 11:25:21 AM from Wandering. Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchmen of the Apocalypse
I have a filter wall so most links don't work.

Wow this guy is a grade A dick. I would have fired him on principal alone.
"Who watches the watchmen?"
Long Live the King
Wow this guy is a grade A dick. I would have fired him on principal alone.

Good luck with firing the owner of a company... Best you could do is quit.

And by not quitting after that bee thing, I'd say that the employees are okay with his actions. Or at least, they think what he's paying them is compensation enough for such actions(or, you know, there actually is a clause in their contracts that says the agree to take such abuses)...

 22 Tuefel Hunden IV, Sat, 8th Sep '12 11:39:47 AM from Wandering. Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchmen of the Apocalypse
Not really. No gurantee you get a new job or that he doesn't manage to sabotage your career for leaving over it. Gaming industry is notorious for high rates of unemployment amongst those trained to perform it. Chances are this guy knew it and abused it. He could have withheld reccomendations and other important things needed to get a new job after leaving a company.
"Who watches the watchmen?"
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up][up]There were a lot of ex-employees piping up in Miseta's suit. I think Stardock really has been bleeding people.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 24 Michael, Sat, 8th Sep '12 1:52:24 PM Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
So that's what this does
Sounds like he enjoyed annoying people. People like that tend to get their just desserts in the form of having to be themselves.
Balance - the original sixth sense.
 25 Clarste, Sat, 8th Sep '12 3:52:43 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
[up][up]I'd agree about the behind-the-back thing. Makes you a jerk, but isn't actually sexual harassment unless it's targeted specifically on a such a subject that makes the person he's actually talking to want to squirm and get a bath. <shrugs> Which, considering what he seems to have done up front... probably isn't out of the question. tongue

Technically, it's not sexual harassment if the victim doesn't know about it. There's a case where some guy drilled holes in the women's restroom and watched them use it, but because they didn't learn about it until after they quit (because he was also a jerk openly), they couldn't use it as evidence of sexual harassment.

edited 8th Sep '12 3:53:01 PM by Clarste

Total posts: 44
1
2


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy