back to article Virtual reality upstart UploadVR allegedly had in-house 'kink room,' drugs, rampant sexism

A female former employee suing UploadVR for discrimination and sexual harassment has filed documents containing lurid goings-on at the virtual reality cheerleader. The lawsuit [PDF], filed last week in the San Francisco Superior Court, was brought by its former director of digital and social media. She claims the company had a …

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  1. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Joke

    Sounds like a fun place to work !

    See title... and icon...

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      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

          Not this shit again. Go back to whichever alt-right forum you crawled from.

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

          "monogamous reproduction"
          That's what women want men to think. As Matt Ridley pointed out in The Red Queen some 25% of second children born in UKLand are not the offspring of the woman's husband.

          1. Baldrickk Silver badge

            Re: "monogamous reproduction"

            How many of those are cheating on their husband, and how many are partners but not married at the time?

            1. Basic

              Re: "monogamous reproduction"

              How is that anyone's concern, except those involved?

              1. Baldrickk Silver badge

                Re: "monogamous reproduction"

                This was a reply to PompusGit, who stated that for 25% of births the father is not the mother's husband.

                I was enquiring as to whether he had the numbers on whether this was:

                a) cheating on an existing partner

                b) sex outside of a partnership

                c) partners having children outside of marriage

                The original comment seemed to imply a, and possibly b.

                As for who's concern it is:

                on a personal level, only those involved.

                on a statistical level, anyone reading this forum thread?

            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: "monogamous reproduction"

              @ Baldrick

              "How many of those are cheating on their husband, and how many are partners but not married at the time?"
              Google Scholar is your friend :-)

              You could also try borrowing Red Queen from your local library; it's an excellent intro to sexual selection by an extraordinarily talented science writer. My copy is currently inaccessible due to being in storage.

              I suspect though from the era of publication and my failing memory that it was married women. De facto relationships were considerably rarer in them days than today.

        3. dan1980

          Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

          @AC (the 'rabbit' one)'

          Irrelevant.

          Ignoring whether what you say has any merit or not (for my money, not) this is about behaviour in the here and now, by people living in the here and now, affecting people living in the here and now. To suggest that the women negatively impacted by this would be happier if society was restructured is not of much use.

          In fact, it's worse. Much worse.

          You are asserting what people should want, effectively saying that those of us who believe women and men are equal and can play equal roles in society are wrong. You are saying that women will be happier if they don't seek equality with men and, instead, let me be the ordained leaders and women the humble homemakers. You are saying that this reprehensible behaviour is the fault, not of those people, but of the problematic arrangement of the society they are forced to live in.

          The people who engaged in this conduct did so in the society we have right now and, in that society, that conduct is unacceptable. WANTING to live in a backwards, patriarchal society is not an excuse for acting as though you are.

          You're blaming the victim.

        4. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

          Yes, @AC, it is the women's fault! In fact, women are to blame for everything that happens to them, and for all bad things men do!

          That is certainly a novel message that nobody's thought of before.

        5. spacecadet66

          Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

          Buddy, I'd rather "Cultural Marxism" any day (if that were a real thing, but never mind that) over cultural fascism. Run along now, preferably into traffic.

      2. dan1980

        Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

        @AC

        What. The. Fuck?

        Everyone should 'buy in' to what, exactly? To sexism? To harassment? To actions and comments that have no place is a modern work place?

        Office culture is one thing, and it can be important in the overall productivity of the company and enjoyment that comes from working there. Telling jokes, going out drinking after work, casual clothes - sure. But open sexism and harassment is not the type of culture anyone should ever be expect to 'buy in' too.

        Honestly, This article reads like a parody from The Onion - that's how over the top this behaviour is. It's like a hyperbolic caricature of Silicon Valley start-ups.

      3. Tachikoma
        Facepalm

        Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

        @AC

        Dude, you were supposed to microdose not macrodose!

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

          Maybe it was microdose of the 250 microgram type

          .. I always find the term microdose a bad choice for LSD as typical strength tabs are in the low hundreds of microgram range.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Sounds like a fun place to work !

            "Maybe it was microdose of the 250 microgram type

            .. I always find the term microdose a bad choice for LSD as typical strength tabs are in the low hundreds of microgram range."

            Back in the day (early 70s) when acid was the latest thing, we managed to acquire some perfectly formed small pills rather than the usual crude ones or blotting paper. Analysis by a friend at UTas indicated they were exactly 100 µgm doses and likely from Sandoz. I believe a microdose is usually 10 µgm.

  2. Alistair Silver badge
    Joke

    They were having issues

    *cough*

    separating their work and reality.

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Dusk

      Re: Sour grapes

      So, in the interest of full disclosure: you think an executive telling a female employee that he has a boner and needs to go masturbate is appropriate?

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: Sour grapes

        It seems this company is run by asshole frat boys

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Sour grapes

          Most if them are, Blank Reg. How do you think get their funding? Merit?

      2. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

        Re: Sour grapes

        Heh. My (female) Secretary would probably shout out, "hey y'all! The boss thinks that pitiful, shriveled little nub is a boner! No way! And he's got kids, too. Must have had some help."

        And I would STFU as I should've done in the first place. Sometimes fighting fire with fire works and keep things chill without going to HR and giving all the lawyers a boner of their own.

        -BC

        1. dan1980

          Re: Sour grapes

          @Chairman of the Bored

          You are correct - 'fighting fire with fire' can indeed curtail such behaviour.

          BUT, no part of this is made okay by the victim not loudly, openly ridiculing the offenders. Their behaviour cannot be made blameless simply because it was not challenged and an employees right to respect shouldn't depend on their ability and/or willingness to hit back.

          An employee does not need to somehow earn the right to work free of harassment and sexual advances.

          I know that's not what you're saying - this comment is more an addendum to your own to point out something I feel is important to note: it is the COMPANY's RESPONSIBILITY to provide a harassment-free workplace, not the employee's responsibility to fight for it.

          1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

            Re: Sour grapes

            Quite right and I appreciate your point. You should seriously contemplate having a beer. Having worked for undiagnosed sociopaths I know that one shouldn't have to bear the burden of defense on ones own shoulders but your ability to remain sane depends on your ability to do so.

            In many organizations I've been in though, specifically including one that occupies a fine looking pentagonal building next to the Potomac River in Alexandria VA, the HR office and related functions are NOT there to help the employee but rather keep the employer our of the newspaper. If in doing so they destroy some careers and crush peoples morale and self esteem, so be it.

            Sometimes I'm surprised we dont have more workplace shootings. Seriously, the average coverassstic organization puts an awful lot of stress on peoples self control and professionalism. Some guys and gals lack the tools and cannot cope.

            Assuming the lady in the article is being honest I'm not surprised she went to the press. But now if she wants to get another job in her field, she needs to change her name, hair color, and move to Mexico... Sad.

      3. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Sour grapes

        "So, in the interest of full disclosure: you think an executive telling a female employee that he has a boner and needs to go masturbate is appropriate?"

        Turn the question around. Would a female exec saying that she's a bit turned on and needs a private moment be a headline story on El Reg?

        Don't get me wrong, there may be a core of truth to these allegations - and at the moment they are just unsubstituted allegations - but I think they've been garnished with salacious and irrelevant details precisely to blackmail the company into settling to avoid a public embarrassment and a the plaintiff having to prove the allegations in court.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Sour grapes

      "Has anyone complained about women discussing who they got off with at the weekend? None of the women ever discussed who they fancy?"
      Back in the early 1970s we put a microphone in the toilet before a party and recorded some very interesting conversation among the women. One remark in particular stood out: "My boyfriend said fucking Wendy was like sticking a telegraph pole up a pinhole!"

      FWIW there was no conversation recorded between blokes since by and large men don't take their mates with them when they need a slash. Nor do I recall much in the way of intimate sexual detail being discussed by blokes anywhere. It was mostly talk about cars and motorbikes.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Sour grapes

        Back in the day (when I was young & the UK had more manufacturing, & temp factory jobs were easy to get & OK pay once you were up to speed to hit bonuses)

        I did a few stints of temporary work in factories, the production line workforce were majority female. There was masses of sexual chat / innuendo, all initiated by female workers. Arguably a very sexist environment for a male worker (& arguably racist, a black male worker would continually be asked to get his **** out by women with variants on wanting to see if the stories about black guys were true)

        Sexist cultures can exist driven by either gender.

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Sour grapes

        "FWIW there was no conversation recorded between blokes since by and large men don't take their mates with them when they need a slash."

        Silence is sacred in the gents' bog - at least in the UK.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sour grapes

        Back in the early 1970s we put a microphone in the toilet before a party and recorded some very interesting conversation among the women.

        In the 80s I used to work as a barman as a second job, I know the graffiti in the Ladies loos was always far more graphic than in the Gents.

    3. dan1980

      Re: Sour grapes

      @Adam 52

      "Would anyone complain about being moved so that a husband and wife could have privacy?"

      In what context?

      If someone at work, whom I am friendly with - whom I see socially - invited me to a party at their house and a guest (whether my colleague or not) asked me to move to another room so that there could be some privacy for a bit of naked fun them so be it. If it made me feel uncomfortable that that was occurring or that it was the general mood of the party then I might leave.

      But that was NOT the context. This was an official company event which employees were expected to attend. The event in question was described as 'mandatory', which means that it was an event at which the company is almost certainly legally responsible for the employees in attendance. If one of the employee at that party tripped and hurt themselves, the company would be responsible for costs and could even be sued. That might sound beside the point but it highlights that this situation was, by any relevant sense, a work event.

      "You know what; I'm a pacifist so I don't work in the military, I'm a liberal so I don't work for Rupert Murdoch. If you're sexually repressed then don't work for a sexually liberal company."

      The first part follows because the military's function is to project and use force - or the threat of force. The second part follows because Murdoch's companies - at least the TV and print organisations - function is to promote a partisan political view, to a partisan base, for profit.

      The last part does not follow because, in this instance, the function of the company ("UploadVR") is to "[bring] virtual reality technology to the consumer masses".

      If the company was involved in producing pornography or sex aids or running BDSM clubs or escort agencies then yes, someone who is 'sexually repressed' shouldn't apply. BUT EVEN THEN, those are businesses that have a responsibility to their employees and it is unacceptable for the owner of a porn studio to make overt sexual advances towards to, say, an accountant. That employee's job is to perform the standard functions of an accountant and no part of that role depends on the sexual attitudes or proclivities of the staff member.

      The employee in question applied for and took a job at a VR startup.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Sour grapes

        "The event in question was described as 'mandatory', which means that it was an event at which the company is almost certainly legally responsible for the employees in attendance. If one of the employee at that party tripped and hurt themselves, the company would be responsible for costs and could even be sued. "
        I guess that means an unwanted pregnancy would be the responsibility of the company — support payments and all that.

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: Sour grapes

          "If one of the employee at that party tripped ... "

          "I guess that means an unwanted pregnancy would be the responsibility of the company — support payments and all that."

          As in... "I tripped and accidentally fell into her vagina"?

          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/millionaire-ehsan-abdulaziz-who-said-he-accidentally-tripped-and-penetrated-teen-is-cleared-of-rape-a6774946.html

  4. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    FWIW I once asked the commander of an all female military transport crew if the working environment is different than a typical USAF crew. What is was told is, "Not really. Just instead of calling it a cockpit its now the 'box office'.

    So now you know.

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  6. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Cultural-Marxist/corporate/globalist "equality" wage-slavery/depopulation propaganda

    One of the previous ACs complained about «Cultural-Marxist/corporate/globalist "equality" wage-slavery/depopulation propaganda».

    This sounds like interesting reading.

    Can you recommend any works that incorporate all (or even most) of the above philosophies together?

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Cultural-Marxist/corporate/globalist "equality" wage-slavery/depopulation propaganda

      "One of the previous ACs complained about «Cultural-Marxist/corporate/globalist "equality" wage-slavery/depopulation propaganda».

      This sounds like interesting reading.

      Can you recommend any works that incorporate all (or even most) of the above philosophies together?"

      Sounds like Derrida, Foucault or another post-modernist philosopher. I can't say I'd recommend reading their "work". As the aphorism goes: The only thing worse than Derrida out of context is Derrida in context.

  7. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    The law?

    There are a lot of complaints embedded in the plaintiffs statement, according to the article, but how many of them are actually grounded in law? I accept that some of the things in the article are clearly illegal, drug use, exploitative pay processes, gender based harrasement etc. but there are some things in there that surely aren't illegal? On what grounds are the following complaints made?

    "set the firm up as a "boys club" and would spend time during the day discussing their sexual exploits." - Pretty sure that, whilst possibly distasteful to some, its not illegal to talk this way?

    "alleged to have told the plaintiff that she wasn't his type sexually " - I'm pretty sure we should be allowed to say this to people. Especially if unwanted advances are made, regardless of gender.

    "employee would boast about having slept with over 1,000 women and never wearing condoms" - Well, that employee is crass and not someone I'd want to hold a conversation with, but is this actually against the law to say?

    "sent out emails looking for submissive female partners known as "Samurai girls," it is claimed." - Illegal? I've no idea...

    "Another executive circulated details of a sexually transmitted disease he picked up on a trip to the Far East" - Everyone consider themselves warned, stay away from this moron! But has he broken an actual law?

    IANAL, but it looks to me like there's some legitimate grounds for complaint and action here, but excess emotional baggage has been tacked on for good measure. Problem is that if that baggage becomes part of the ruling we get into a reduction of the right to hold a conversation without thinking over every word we say.

    I'm not defending anyone here, not criticizing anyone, but perhaps the complaint should be focused on matters of civil and criminal law?

    1. PapaD

      Re: The law?

      It's possible that all of these examples will be used to illustrate that the company fostered a hostile/toxic work environment that would be considered distasteful by any woman working there.

    2. tedleaf

      Re: The law?

      I'm sure their backers or share holders might have something to day if they had been told this was a firm with ideas for .making money from vr/ar but found that it was set up as a boys club with little chance of success due to attitude of those at top of firm.

      It's called fraud..

      1. katgod

        Re: The law?

        It does make one wonder how much real work is being done. Glad it is not my money funding it.

    3. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: The law?

      Every other post that attempted to examine the veracity of the comments has been deleted by the mods, presumably because El Reg is concerned about republishing libellous allegations. I expect yours to go soon!

  8. sabba

    If Beavis and Butthead moved into IT...

    ...this sounds like the kind of company they would run.

    What the hell is happening to our industry? Is this what happens when you give self-indulgent boy-men shed-loads of cash and leave them to their own devices?

    I am not what might be called PC, and sometimes I think that people are becoming overly sensitive. This place, however, sounds like a particularly corrosive environment.

    1. Michael Strorm

      Re: If Beavis and Butthead moved into IT...

      "...this sounds like the kind of company they would run."

      When asked to comment on the case, UploadVR's legal representative responded "Are you threatening me?" before announcing that his name was Cornholio and making some confused utterances in a mock-Spanish accent.

    2. spacecadet66

      Re: If Beavis and Butthead moved into IT...

      "What the hell is happening to our industry? Is this what happens when you give self-indulgent boy-men shed-loads of cash and leave them to their own devices?"

      Yes.

      Sorry, was that a rhetorical question?

    3. 404 Silver badge

      Re: If Beavis and Butthead moved into IT...

      This isn't new - ran into this in the late 90's and should have it's own dank meme by now... Seems to be related to the 'Mom's Basement' mentality when someone or some few basement trolls make good and use the gobs of cash they've received to live out their idea of CEO-level corporate life. They tend to implode over the years though. Like these guys.

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  10. Andy 73

    Social skills..

    It says a lot about this industry that an article describing what appears to be a severely dysfunctional company is followed by long discussions about whether or not that constitutes socially unacceptable behaviour.

    Hint: totally unacceptable.

    It doesn't matter if you once heard a woman say a rude word, or the girl you fancied told you to get lost - nothing makes being an asshat acceptable. That applies just as much to women as to men.

    1. deathchurch

      Re: Social skills..

      You're wrong on every level...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Social skills..

        You're wrong on every level...

        And Exceptionally Insightful Rebuttal of the Year prize goes to "deathchurch"! Congratulations!

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Social skills..

      Hint for those lacking in critical thinking skills. If a story appears completely one-sided and describes an extremely implausible situation then the chances are that it is inaccurate.

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