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My first response to Evelyn Rusli

  • What is your response to the company's findings (via the investigation) that there was no evidence of gender-based harassment?

I obviously disagree. I was repeatedly shamed and harassed for dating a coworker, while my partner was repeatedly praised, sometimes even publicly.

  • What did you specifically consider gender-harassment?

Tom targeted myself and others women at the company on the request of his wife. I would say anything that is most easily described as a "witch hunt" is usually gender-harassment. I also found it appalling that although I was generally well-liked and respected by most (maybe? unclear now), almost none of my complaints to HR were addressed or handled appropriately. I felt I was targeted by aggressive behavior often because I was a woman and that my character was a topic of conversation more than any man’s.

  • What could the company have done better to respond to your complaints?

Actually address them and hold Tom Preston-Werner accountable for his behavior. Regarding the engineer, they just could have listened. The week before I left, I sent both Chris Wanstrath and Ryan Tomayko an email asking them both to speak. I implied that it was really important with regards to the engineering organization. If they had just listened and if HR had just addressed what had happened, I would have been satisfied. They never prioritized a healthy work environment.

  • What do you think about the way complaints were handled at the company -- particularly in late 2012 (when you had uncomfortable with your interactions with Theresa and Tom)?

They simply weren’t. No one ever circled back with me. And I felt that was the case because they knew if they did, they would be held accountable. This is what felt most like bullying to me at the time.

  • Can you please elaborate on what happened in late 2012, between you, Tom, Theresa and your partner at the time? According to several people with knowledge of the matter, you communicated to your partner that you did not want him to be friends with Theresa and you did not want to see her in the office. It was also communicated that if the situation did not change, you were willing to go public about rumors about Tom and Theresa's marriage. Your partner at the time then informed Tom, who then informed some of the other co-founders. He then proceeded to interview several employees, including yourself. Do you agree with this -- and if not, which pieces do you disagree with and why?

I was terrified of the rumors I’d heard about Theresa. She seemed crazy and dangerous to me at the time. I asked for distance from what had been a toxic situation for the 3 of them in the past. What I ask and/or tell my partner in private is between him and I, not anyone else, nor is it news or any business of the company’s.

I said a lot of hurtful things in those conversations because the 3 of them backed me into a corner and threatened not only my job but my sanity. They bullied me because of what they thought I knew about them and their marriage but the truth is that when I asked about rumors that had existed prior to my employment at GitHub my partner purely replied with “You don’t know what she’s done.” It was clear to me that I needed to distance myself from her and her husband entirely.

I don’t know what my partner said to Tom or Theresa at the time. I have never asked him to threaten her on my behalf. But I don’t blame him for trying to protect me.

  • In that interaction with Tom, you told TechCrunch, that it was a heated exchange in which he “accused [you] of threatening his wife,” and called you a “liar.” Is that accurate? Can you tell me anything else about the meeting?

Absolutely correct. Heather Baldry sat there in silence and allowed him to threaten my job over a rumor she propagated. He read from an iPad and blamed me for several things I’ve never said or done.

  • Soon after these discussions (still in the late 2012 time frame), did you send an amicable email to Theresa-- and did she send an amicable email in return?

Tom requested I send an email to her. I thought if I did this, he would stop giving me dirty looks and dragging my personal relationship into the office. So I complied. I made it clear in this email, though, that the situation I walked into was there long before I got to GitHub.

  • What happened later in 2013 that made you feel uncomfortable again with Theresa's presence in the office? According to people with knowledge of the situation, you informed some co-founders that her presence made you feel uncomfortable in the second half of 2013. - How did they respond, what did they assure you then? What did Theresa do to make you feel threatened in the office?

She just started showing up and sitting right next to me. It’s interesting, actually, because there was a pattern. Most of the days when Tom and I would get press coverage about Passion Projects, she would show up as if to make a statement of some sort. I don’t know, it was aggressive and definitely unwelcome.

  • In Feb., I understand that Theresa was on the third floor-- and you spoke with HR. What did HR assure you? Did you see Theresa on floor 2 or 3 after this (was this the promise? My understanding is that you were ok with her on floor 1 but not 2,3.

HR refused to answer me actually. It was Theresa herself who informed me that she had been told to stay off of the second and third floors. She came up to a group I was standing with and huffed and puffed about “not being allowed up there.” I walked away.

  • On the issue of the coder who ripped out your code after you rejected his romantic advances, can you please tell me approx. when he pulled your code, what type of features/code did he pull? I understand it happened around the first week of Jan. Is this accurate?

The company says there was no evidence that the coder maliciously edited your code, what is your response? Also, according to several employees interviewed and messages sent between you and the coder from later in 2013, the relationship appeared friendly for quite some time after the incident. Do you have a response to this?

It happened in January. And was not, just in one project. It was across two different projects and it happened approximately 3 times. I know what he was doing and it was not appropriate. It’s like the modern version of negging a woman.

  • Can you confirm that you participated in a documentary about female employees in technology by filmmaker Robin Hauser Reynolds. On Twitter, you said GitHub’s public relations firm threatened to blackball the filmmaker, unless you was removed from the film-- is that correct?

Yes. Robin says this was a miscommunication on her part. But she originally told me that they implied they would no longer support the film if she kept me in it. I know what I heard.

  • Do you have a response to the company’s claim that the investigation did not yield evidence of a work environment inhospitable to women or one that was sexist? I would like to speak to others who found the culture uncomfortable to women or sexist—do you have any names of people I should try, whether current or former employees of GitHub?

I can only laugh at this. Because people at GitHub know the truth. And that’s all I’ll say.

I don’t feel comfortable naming names because they are employees I love and respect.

  • In a Tweet, you mentioned that the investigator did not reach out to you until April 8-- after you tweeted “Fun fact: GitHub's "investigation" is close to wrapping up without contacting myself or other ex-hubbers involved” on April 7. According to interviews, there are call logs reflecting that she reached out to you several times on the first week of her investigation and also had GitHub’s PR email you details of her bio, to help prepare you for a discussion. Although she called you in March, she apparently repeatedly got your voice mail. Is this accurate? Or is she mistaken?

It is true that the investigator called me, but that’s not what I was told. I was told she had emailed me several times without a response. This is untrue (screenshot attached). At the time I was receiving phone calls from a lot of unidentified numbers and was receiving rape threats. I wasn’t answering unidentified numbers. I was also never contacted by GitHub’s PR team to my knowledge.

  • Is there anyone else that I should speak to before we publish this story?

I have no idea.

  • Are there any other details you would like to provide about what happened to you at GitHub? Or anything else?

I don’t know, I’m tired. And I’m really looking forward to moving on with my life.

  • You have stated on Twitter that Github acted illegally in certain cases, such as “Bullying someone into quitting: illegal.” Are you considering a lawsuit against Github or anyone involved with Github? If not, why not?

I cannot comment on this at this time.

  • Julie
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