Woman is sacked for tweeting picture of men who made 'sexist' dongle jokes at PyCon developer conference

Email firm SendGrid let Adria Richards go for 'public shaming' male PyCon attendees

A woman who was offended by a conversation between two men at a US conference for computer developers has been sacked after tweeting an image of them.

Adria Richards, a former employee of the email firm SendGrid, claimed to have heard two PyCon attendees joke about “big dongles” and use the technical term “forking repos” in a sexual way.

She detailed her version of the events in a blog post earlier this week writing: “Have you ever had a group of men sitting right behind you making joke that caused you to feel uncomfortable?”

Ms Richards, who was a “development evangelist” at SendGrid, goes on to detail the incident explaining that having heard the comments she decided to tweet a photo of the two men.

The men were later escorted from the conference session after Richards tweeted a message using the #pycon hashtag.

One of the two men was later fired by his employer PlayHaven.

Andy Yang, CEO of PlayHaven said in a blogpost that: “PlayHaven had an employee who was identified as making inappropriate comments at PyCon, and as a company that is dedicated to gender equality and values honourable behaviour, we conducted a thorough investigation. The result of this investigation led to the unfortunate outcome of having to let this employee go.”

However, Ms Richards has also since been sacked by her employer after an outpouring of online abuse was directed at her.

The online criticism culminated in a hacking attack on the site of Richards's employer SendGrid, which brought the site down.

In a blog post chief executive Jim Franklin wrote: “A SendGrid developer evangelist's responsibility is to build and strengthen our developer community across the globe.

"In light of the events over the last 48+ hours, it has become obvious that (her) actions have strongly divided the same community she was supposed to unite. As a result, she can no longer be effective in her role at SendGrid."

Mr Franklin also said he thought Ms Richard's actions had ”crossed the line.“

Ms Richards has said that she took her action after seeing pictures of female coders at the conference, and becoming concerned that they would be put off joining the industry if such comments were allowed.

She wrote on her blog: "Women in technology need consistent messaging from birth through retirement they are welcome, competent and valued in the industry."

The internet backlash against Ms Richards included campaign to get her fired on the 4Chan message board, denial of service attacks on her blog and an attack on her employer's website.

SendGrip subsequently made the decision to sack Ms Richards and posted a message on their Twitter account stating: "Effective immediately, @AdriaRichards has been terminated from @SendGrid".

In a blog post today SendGrid boss Jim Franklin wrote that though the company supported Ms Richards's right to complain, "her decision to tweet the comments and photographs of the people who made the comments crossed the line.

"Publicly shaming the offenders – and bystanders – was not the appropriate way to handle the situation," he said.

PyCon has also responded to the scandal by updating its Code of Conduct with the note: "Public shaming can be counter-productive to building a strong community. PyCon does not condone nor participate in such actions out of respect."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?