CW: racist, sexist, transphobic, hateful language and online abuse
From July 14 to August 17, 2020 (at time of publish), I experienced targeted harassment on GitHub—the company I’m employed at—via coordination happening on several “technology” 4chan threads about me. I wanted to share this story publicly to reiterate the bullshit marginalized folks in tech have to go through in order to be successful, visible, and just exist.
So as the dude in the screenshot says, I have plenty of material to write a post on all that fuckery.
Lots of screenshots are of the comments on 4chan, but what boggles my mind are the ones on GitHub. As Kat herself notes:
And what still really creeps me out is that these people felt so emboldened to troll an EMPLOYEE using their actual GitHub accounts with legitimate work and contributions. These harassers are everyday software engineers.
Her only ‘crime’ is to be an Asian woman who works at GitHub while also supporting social justice. There is no logic or rationale, just pure blind hatred.
Kat has some words for the people who hire and employ those who attacked her, and will undoubtedly do so again:
To the most privileged tech leaders:
When these events happen to your employees, are you investing actual money to support them? Are you monitoring content, encouraging time off, creating company policies, and covering their therapy? In lucky cases like mine, where the bulk of harassment may happen on the platform the victim works on, are you actively fixing pain points your employee experienced? Make sure you have a policy and detailed playbook, and definitely don’t expect your marginalized employees to fix these problems for you. Don’t wait until an incident arises—it’s always an “edge case” until someone’s personal safety is threatened.
By not having intentional protections for the most vulnerable in place, you’re preventing employees from being productive at work (because they’re dealing with bullshit!). And you’re absolutely driving away diverse talent from joining your company. It’s actually fucking up your business. Access and representation in tech isn’t a pipeline or qualification problem. It’s a white supremacy problem.
Lastly, I want to circle back to this point about users with legitimate coding work harassing me. It’s easy to dismiss these trolls as incel 4channers that we shun and don’t associate with. Lol no. These are your people. They work at your companies and write your code. They are harassing or doxxing your other employees. This toxic behavior is still very much a part of your tech culture, and you keep rewarding it.
Fix. This. Shit.