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When Susan Fowler rocked Uber’s world with a meticulous account of the company’s sexual harassment and gender discrimination issues, the ride-sharing service turned to its only female board member to help clean up its culture (and its image). Arianna Huffington was perfectly poised to position herself as the feminist savior who would advocate for Uber’s women—she oversaw the subsequent Eric Holder investigation, and promised that “no brilliant jerks will be allowed, and no one will be protected because they are top performers.” But being a powerful woman with a stake in a company, and its profits, doesn’t mean Huffington was actually the best choice to champion women struggling to make their voices heard.
Huffington’s well-documented history of fostering a toxic work culture, and failing to address inappropriate behavior from a “brilliant jerk” in her own midst, calls into question the sincerity behind her pledge to help bring positive change to Uber’s culture. Most notably, her history with a former managing editor whose “transfer” to launch HuffPost India was later revealed to be result of an HR investigation into whether he had sexually harassed multiple young women in the New York office. Gizmodo recently revisited those allegations and not only independently confirmed that the investigation was indeed the reason for that managing editor’s transfer, but that Huffington knew about his actions before they were reported to HR, according to a former employee with direct knowledge of the investigation.
Huffington - Bears - Role - Uber - Wave
Huffington’s past bears revisiting not only because of her role at Uber, but also because of the recent wave of allegations about inappropriate workplace behavior. It is important to note that oftentimes, harassers in positions of power can continue to engage in sexual misconduct without consequence due to the complicity of those in their professional sphere. And that includes women. Harvey Weinstein, for instance, had...
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A pox on both their houses!