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Sexual-Harassment Claims Against a ‘She-E.O.’
Article here. Excerpt:
'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.'
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