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):
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).
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.