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back to article Dongle smut Twitstorm claims second scalp

Life can imitate a Charlie Brooker drama, after all. A programmer who made a "dongle" joke at a Python developers' conference has been fired, unleashing a Twitter lynch mob. His feminist accuser has also been fired after her employer suffered a DDoS attack. "Women in technology need consistant [sic] messaging from birth through …

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Idiocy

I cannot believe this got as far as it did. Two people fired over inappropriate jokes?

Those guys should have kept their mouths shut due to where they were, Adria Richards should have had a quiet word with staff and not twittered, and (if it got that far) the "jokers" should have received a stern talking to or (at max) a written warning by their employer.

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Facepalm

Re: Idiocy

Honestly, who here hasn't made a dongle joke?

And yes, oversharing is apparently a problem for the under 30 crowd.

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MrT
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Don't ever send her to...

...a security metrics conference then. If she can't stand dongle references then she'll blow a fuse when the discussion turns to reminiscences of fingering network users, ip, taking a tcpdump and packet sniffing... etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiocy

Why should they have kept their mouth shut? People need to stop getting so easily offended over trivial things is more like it.

I've noticed a trend over the last decade where more and more people seem to be getting offended over everything and anything and it's just getting ridiculous now. Is this the future, where the whingers end up getting their way and we all end up becoming human robots?

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Re: Idiocy

And even if what you hear is so incredible offensive to your ears, is it really so difficult to just talk directly to whoever is offending you? Over at her blog, Amanda Blum has recounted her personal experiences of dealing with Adria Richards. This dongle incident is by no means an isolated incident. If anything, it's part of an established pattern of behaviour. Richards gets offended by something and instead of expressing her concerns directly to the people involved, she deliberately engages in histrionics and tries to create an internet shitstorm. The only difference is that this time her antics have spiraled out of control, and now herself and a father of three have both lost their jobs (in an American state with one of the highest levels of unemployment). The mainstream media have made things worse by largely failing to investigate the incident in detail. And let's be honest, the fact that a joke about dongles (in essence, a dick joke) is being reported in the press is just ridiculous, especially when you consider that Richards has made dick jokes on twitter in the past.

This whole incident has become a farce, and essentially nobody has acted correctly. Should the developer have made the joke? I don't know, seeing as nobody has bothered to actually repeat the wording of it. Was Richards' response to the joke appropriate? Holy shit no. She could have at least tried to talk to them directly, and instead she chose to escalate things way out of proportion. Should PlayHaven have sacked the joker? Fuck no, it was an overreaction to an overreaction. Should Richards have been sacked by SendGrid? Once again, no - it was an overreaction to an overreaction to an overreaction. What's especially tragic is that Richards will likely see all the unwarranted hatred that's being directed against her as vindication of her actions. I very much doubt asking herself "could I have handled this differently?" Hell, she's already said that her actions have made her "feel like Joan of Arc."

I know it sounds ridiculous, but the internet has actually allowed people to engage in what I describe as passive-aggressive bullying. Don't like something somebody has said or done? Why deal with the problem yourself when you can summon an angry mob with a twitter post or an outraged podcast!

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Silver badge

Congratulations Adria. When confronted with a situation where two guys were making inappropriate comments (there is a line between a bad joke and something that just isn't appropriate) you managed to do pretty much the only thing you could that would make yourself as bad as them.

Rather than deal with it like an adult (reminding them that facial hair suggests their dongles haven't seen many female adapters) face to face you just HAD to use it as a way to draw attention to yourself. That does rather seem to be a theme with you. Did your parents not pay you enough attention? Or too much? Were they helicopter parents? Are your preschool paintings still on the fridge? I bet you still know how many gold stars you got in 2nd grade.

Women deserve parity and respect, pathetic self serving attention seeking does nothing but feed the trolls. If you are going to deal with people being juvenile a good first step is not to lower yourself to their level.

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Re: Idiocy

There are far too many people in this world with fuck-all sense of humour.

To quote Ricky Gervais "Just because you're offended doesn't mean you are right!"

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Re: Idiocy & Joan of Arc

Very similar to Joan of Arc I would say: Unstable, disliked, misanthropic and know to cause trouble wherever she goes.

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I agree with your post, but would pick up on "Women deserve parity and respect,".

Parity is a given but respect needs to be earned by everyone. It doesn't come with one's reproductive organs.

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Paris Hilton

Earning respect..

Some people’s reproductive organs do garner respect...

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Boffin

Re: Idiocy

"[some person] gets offended by something and instead of expressing her concerns directly to the people involved, she deliberately engages in histrionics and tries to create an internet shitstorm."

Upvoted post, but following reference may be of interest

http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/21/4131130/obsessed-with-now-douglas-rushkoff-and-the-threat-of-present-shock

The attached downloadable podcast explores some of the issues of what Mark Pilgrim used to refer to as the 'firehose'. Around the 28 minute mark, Rushkoff suggests that schools should run 'presentist' classes; i.e. how to work face to face, how to read body language, how to challenge effectively (not usually by direct confrontation).

Perhaps the two recently sacked programmers should have been made to attend a 'presentism' class instead. Cheaper than recruiting new staff!

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Perhaps, I wouldn't be disrespectful to someone the first time I meet them at work. I didn't mean worshiping them, just being polite but I understand I probably got the wrong word! :)

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Re: Idiocy

We've created a political climate and generation that is so self-righteous that the idea of tolerating what we do not agree with is unheard of. All wrongs must be righted, it must never happen again, whatever the cost, etc.

As I say to my kids, you often have to say its your own fault when it isn't and be nice to people who are mean to you, because its very rare indeed to win friends by pointing out someone's mistakes.

Many times you can be right, and even have the might - and still lose.

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FAIL

Re: Idiocy

Besides that Polly Princess got her panties in a bunch over an overheard conversation not even aimed at her, and chose to throw a tantrum over twitter, and seems to like to play the Race Card, and is by all available evidence (gotta love the intarwebs for that..) your typical hypocritical militant bitch..

What on earth makes her think she even remotely classes as a "Nerd" , and why hasn't anyone made it clear to Her Highness she doesn't even come close to classing as one, given her obvious ( lack of ) social traits, let alone intelligence?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiocy

Given that they were having a private conversation with each other, which she overheard, and then took to twitter, I'm not sure how this is particularly relevant.

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Re: Trigun: Idiocy

"...... the "jokers" should have received a stern talking to or (at max) a written warning by their employer." Makes you wonder if the coder in question had previous or was otherwise already in his employer's bad books.

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Stop

Re: Idiocy & Joan of Arc

Before mouthing off at a woman who is an historical figure, perhaps you would consider actually finding some evidence before traducing her.

If one reads the transcript of the trial, one would not find her to be unstable, disliked, misanthropic... For example, La Hire, who fought with her, held her in the highest regard. He himself was a professional soldier with a distinguished career. Many of the other commanders also held her in high regard - which is evidenced by the re-trial that happened some years later, away from the malign influence of the University of Paris and the English crown.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiocy

"Honestly, who here hasn't made a dongle joke?"

ME!

Do you really find "dongle" funny? Really?

Dropping such a unworthy pun demonstrates a lack of maturity which I would expect from those over 30.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiocy

"I've noticed a trend over the last decade where more and more people seem to be getting offended over everything and anything and it's just getting ridiculous now. Is this the future, where the whingers end up getting their way and we all end up becoming human robots?"

The lack of professionalism is apparent when you make piss poor puns in front of those whom you don't know. You need to flip you argument.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idiocy

They didn't make "piss poor puns in front of those whom you don't know. " They were talking crap between themselves and a mad bitch listened in and decided to "make a point"

I they'd stood up on their chairs and shouted out "OOO MY DO I HAVE A BIG DONGLE" then yes, they'd have been guilty of being a bit dickish, as it is, they didn't, as such no sane person would be offended as no sane person listens into someones private conversations and assumes they understand the entire context of their discussion. Unless crazy person had been following them around all day cataloging their discussions, mannerisms and, in jokes.

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Pint

Humour shortage

I occasionally find myself inclined to ask some humourless individual whether the absence is a genetic defect, of if they had it surgically removed.

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Stop

Re: AC Re: Idiocy

"They didn't make "piss poor puns in front of those whom you don't know. " They were talking crap between themselves and a mad bitch listened in and decided to "make a point"....." Basically, what you're saying is, IYHO, it wasn't really offensive and it was only meant between the two beardie-wierdies it was a crime for anyone to be offended, right? This fails the very obvious test of substituting sexist comments for something that you probably do rate as unacceptable, say racist comments - would you be so blasé about it if they had been overheard making in-jokes about blacks? How about homophobic comments, would you just shrug at those? The convention had a declared policy on sexism, the two twits broke it. Adria may leapt at the chance to over-react, but that doesn't obscure the fact the comments were pretty stupid to be making even sotto voce in public. And the Playhaven one of the twits was especially stupid to be caught doing so in company-branded apparel.

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MnM

Re: Idiocy

'Should Richards have been sacked by SendGrid? Once again, no - it was an overreaction to an overreaction to an overreaction.'

A complete guess, but they probably saw a golden opportunity to lose her and grabbed it.

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Re: AC Idiocy

How exactly is a dongle joke, sexist? Is any mention, however indirect, of a penis, sexist? Is it sexist if a woman makes a dongle joke or makes an equivalent joke about female genitalia? Is this policy, and your opinion about what constitutes sexism, solely directed at men? I would hazard it is

They broke policy by making a lewd joke, Sexism is just a word thrown into the mix by this lunatic woman in order to justify behaving like a spoilt toddler

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Anonymous Coward

There's just no way to avoid the fact that the moment women get involved in anything the entire agenda/atmosphere of whatever that is must be adapted to suit the 'thoughts/feelings/sensitivities' of now present females.

Focus shift from whatever 'the thing' is to 'inclusivity/equality/sensitivity' just because there are woman involved.

If they're my equal why can't they handle being treated as I am treated?

Why should their feelings, thoughts ,opinioins, and sensitivities become as important as the primary focus of 'the thing' they've become involved in?

I can't say I've ever had to put the thoughts, feelings, opinions, and/or sensitivities of men first. Yet today we are expected to accept this as the norm for anything we are involved in, because there are women involved.

Anyone care to guess why the Western world is rapidly being caught up by developing nations who like our own predecessors focused their attention on doing 'the thing' they did, and not on pandering to the sensitivities and paranoia of a specific group?

And yes I know all you 'inclusive people and feminists' are going to fame me for this, but it's still true.

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Anonymous Coward

> Anyone care to guess why the Western world is rapidly being caught up by developing nations who like our own predecessors focused their attention on doing 'the thing' they did, and not on pandering to the sensitivities and paranoia of a specific group?

If the "specific group" you're thinking of is "entrenched business interests", then I agree wholeheartedly.

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To be fair most people (men or women) don't need any special treatment. It's just a small, but very vocal few, who then poison everything.

Were the jokes these made a little crude - yes. Should they have refrained from saying them in a public room - maybe. Was anyone made a "victim" - no, not at all.

I used to work in an office full of women and the conversations and jokes they made would make anything these guys said sound like a children's story. Every other comment was about sex.

Where I work now there are several women who can (and regularly do) out-crude anything the men say.

Nobody complains. Nobody gets in trouble. Nobody is offended.

It's just really worrying that there is a small group of people who make a purpose of being offended whenever possible. And instead of telling them to get over it and grow up, and maybe reminding other people to show a little respect, we validate their stance and stick it all over the media.

Such a shame people of the type don't come with attached warning labels so the rest of us can just ignore them...

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Anonymous Coward

The number of up votes for this post reveals a great about the readership of El Reg. In my experience, most women who take offence, at least in technical/engineering circles, will tell you to fuck off, and that will be the end of it.

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Joke

@WorkingFromHome

> Where I work now there are several women who can (and regularly do) out-crude anything the men say.

Given your handle, does that mean you're referring to women in your own family?

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Anonymous Coward

It seems to be saying that I'm not the only one who gets pissed off by the fact that the moment women get involved in anything the entire agenda has to adapt to suit their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and sensitivities.

I'm willing to bet nearly (if not all of those people) are pretty much like me, in that if this had been a case of some arsehole targeting her personally, by saying something to her, or about her within her earshot, we'd all happily call them knobs, and tell them they should be apologising most prefusely.

It wasn't though was it, it was some creepy woman listening in to a private conversation between two other people. Creepy because she wasn't overhearing it like we all would and maybe taking anything one of them said as something of personal note, you know the "Note to self - Hmmm he's obviously a knob" type opinion. No she was doing it because she is a woman, and believes she is thus 'entitled' eavesdrop and do whatever she wanted with whatever she overheard.

Which bit of "When two people are having a private conversation, it's rude to eavesdrop" is it you think she has trouble understanding?

Why do women do that eavesdropping thing anyway? I mean we all know they do it all the time, thankfully most of them are sensible enough to use any knobbish comments they overhear for no more than forming a personal opinion of the involved parties.

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Anyone care to guess why the Western world is rapidly being caught up by developing nations who like our own predecessors focused their attention on doing 'the thing' they did, and not on pandering to the sensitivities and paranoia of a specific group?

Errrrr...you're honestly going to blame feminism for an asserted rapid development pace in other countries? Are you kidding me?

Look, feminism (in a broad sense) has a point. There are still sexist dicks in our society, and I do still run into them. I generally refer to them as "pricks". And on the other hand, you have people like this woman who go OTT about any perceived slight, even if it wasn't directed at them, etc. I refer to those people as "pricks" also. Their gender or social alignments have little to do with it.

1 "feminist" is a prick != all feminists are therefore pricks.

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FAIL

"Which bit of "When two people are having a private conversation, it's rude to eavesdrop" is it you think she has trouble understanding?"

Which bit of "when you're listening to a presentation at a conference, it's rude to tell your *hilarious* smutty jokes so loud that people around you hear them" is it that you think those guys had trouble understanding?

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Facepalm

>>There's just no way to avoid the fact that the moment women get involved in anything the entire agenda/atmosphere of whatever that is must be adapted to suit the 'thoughts/feelings/sensitivities' of now present females.<<

What sexist nonsense. It sounds like you've had some bad experiences with women Dave but you've obviously not met many if that's how you think you need to behave around them. Try just treating them the same as everyone else, you'll find that there's a massive range of them, all with different personalities. Why, they're almost like real people....

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Anonymous Coward

@ sabroni

Thank you the concern you've shown towards my social life, however I am fortunate enough to not need any advice in that area, so you'll have to forgive me for not taking aforementioned advice.

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Anonymous Coward

Seems to me that the passing of immature smutty jokes should be a perfectly acceptable thing for anyone to do.

I know women who partake in such activity, irrelevant of where they are, or who might overhear them.

However they know they can safely do so, because no man would ever bother publicly humiliating them, or risk their job for an impersonal smutty joke they pass with a friend.

Seems we men can't say the same.

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@ Greg J Preece

"1 "feminist" is a prick != all feminists are therefore pricks."

I did point out in my second post that most women wouldn't have reacted as she did.

That however has little to do with my point about how the moment women get involved in anything, that entire thing has to change to be "inclusive" and considerate of the womens thoughts, feelings, opions and sensitivities.

If they're the equals of the men who were involved in whatever that thing is, that shouldn't be necessary. should it? Yet it is.

This is why we get to have crap like this spouted at us:

"Women in technology need consistant [sic] messaging from birth through retirement they are welcome, competent and valued in the industry,"

Men of course can expect no such treatment in 'the industry' despite apparently us all being equal.

Liek I said, there's no way to avoid the fact.

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"It sounds like you've had some bad experiences with women Dave but you've obviously not met many if that's how you think you need to behave around them"

Shaming tactics?

He must be getting near the truth

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Mark Lutz wrote:

> The only objective thing worth interjecting is that Python is

> named after a BBC comedy series; humor is a fundamental part of

> its culture (and, I think, life in general, but I'm not in a

> deep enough mood to go there today ;-).

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Pyhton humour

Python is named after a BBC comedy series

And a comedy series which was more than happy to use naked women for comedic effect.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pyhton humour

Naked men too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce7USPnHZMA

I had to laugh recent when the inclusion and diversity dept at work ran a quiz about famous women. The email announcing it actually said "to get an entry form, go to the nearest kitchen"

Nobody quite dared to comment on it though...

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Re: Pyhton humour

Not to mention naked men at an upright.. But move right along, no massive organ jokes here

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid girl...

Unfortunately too many people naively think that their rants and posts on Blogs/Facebook/Twitter (delete as appropriate) have immunity from real life, they don't consider the consequence for the other parties or themselves.

I have seen this of "naming and shaming" destroys life's and causes untold pain - Perhaps she'll think twice next time.

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Bronze badge

"Yesterday the future of programming [again, our emphasis] was on the line and I made myself heard,"

I think the term that probably applies to her reaction is 'verbal diarrhea'.

The consequences would have been different if she had taken the time to extract her head from her own backside for more than a few seconds and actually thought about what she was doing.

She would have seen that there was a better way of dealing with this, a couple of people would end up feeling like idiots and she would still have a job. Her own sense of self-importance and arrogance seems to have got the better of her.

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Anonymous Coward

From the sounds of it she'd have ended up looking more the idiot, on the big dongle gag among mates assuming there wasn't a mental curtain twitched listening, the guys would have probably gone

"errr what?" As there's nothing sexist about talking about large penises. Maybe non-inclusive as girls don't have cocks.

On the forking they'd simply have gone "errr what are you talking about, we were referring to forking his code not fucking his arse."

However she'd have gone mental anyway (re her mad bag bat rant about lynching), the woman is mental.

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FAIL

LOL fired

"The stuff about the dongles wasn't even logical and as a self professed nerd, that bothered me. Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive..."

So like vibrators?

Next up: Web 2.0 in feminal colours, no jestosterokes allowed and everyone gets a handout about how lewd allusions related to sexual activites and proclivities of and with people of the uterine persuasion are worse than talking bad about people living in certain parts of the old Roman Province of Judea (but only in regard to those whose ancestors allegedly and very likely apocryphally were treated to a forced visit of the Egyptian industrial mainlands). "After this message..."

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WTF?

Re: LOL fired

[quote]"The stuff about the dongles wasn't even logical and as a self professed nerd, that bothered me. Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive..."[/quote]

Had to double read that to make sure she wasn't trolling her self

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Re: LOL fired

Actually I agree with that part. Double entendres are funny, single entendres aren't. If you can simultaneously make a sex joke and a valid comment about the topic at hand, that not only shows a little wit, it also gives anyone who might be uncomfortable an easy out, just pretend they took your comment at face value.

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I hate sexual discrimiation with a passion...

...but this sounds more like some stupid bastard (Merkin?) who's decided she's going to interpret anything she possibly can as discriminatory.

It reminds me of a situation a few years ago on a company Usenet group when a woman who'd obviously done all the "anti-discrimination" courses (but not the "having a brain" course) slapped down a friend of mine for his "homophobic" comments. And then became strangely quiet after my response, "Hey Darren, do you reckon there's something about you she doesn't know?"

(For the benefit of Merkins, Darren's gay).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I hate sexual discrimiation with a passion...

To be fair, it's possible to be both homophobic and gay. A certain Scottish ex-cardinal may or may not fall into that category.

Anon, because nobody expects the... etc...

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Re: I hate sexual discrimiation with a passion...

Telling smutty jokes to others who you know won't take offence isn't "discrimination". Hell, telling smutty jokes isn't "discriminatory" at all. "Discrimination" is something everybody does every day of their lives, and that there it is a value-neutral term. Only where the discrimination can be perceived as unfair, i.e. to the detriment of the person being discriminated on grounds that are not legally acceptable, is there an issue. To put it another way, the fact that you have your current job means that someone else discriminated between you and the other applicants.

This woman is part of a very unhealthy attitude towards humour, and an increasingly unhealthy attitude against men, much worse than that the feminists rail against, because it is deliberate, and calculated to demean men. The only downside is that this daft woman will probably take her case to court and get damages for being sacked (though that is quite correct - what she did was not a sacking offence).

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