Lawsuit: Female Pinterest Executive Fired After Complaining About ‘Misogyny’

Pinterest on NYSE

A former top Pinterest executive filed a lawsuit on Tuesday claiming that she was excluded from important meetings, paid less than her male co-workers, given gender-specific feedback, and was eventually fired after complaining about discrimination.

Female Pinterest executive Françoise Brougher filed a lawsuit alleging that CEO Ben Silbermann fired her after she complained about being treated differently than her male co-workers, according to a report by Daily Mail.

“It is time to eliminate the ‘boys’ clubs’ that dominate far too many companies and make room for more women leaders and their ideas,” said Brougher.

The former Pinterest executive, who abruptly left the company in April, says that she was fired for “speaking out about the rampant discrimination, hostile work environment, and misogyny'” in the workplace.

“When men speak out, they get rewarded. When women speak out, they get fired,” Brougher told the New York Times.

Brougher, who was responsible for Pinterest’s revenue as COO, said in her lawsuit that “even at the very top ranks of a public company, female executives can be targeted for sex discrimination and retaliation.”

“Although Pinterest markets itself to women looking for inspiration, the company brazenly fired its top female executive for pointing out gender bias within Pinterest’s male dominated leadership team,” she added.

“When you are brought in as a No. 2, you are expected to advise the CEO, but when you are not in the meeting where the decisions are made and don’t have the context, it makes your job harder,” said Brougher of being left out of important meetings.

The lawsuit also alleges that the company’s chief financial officer Todd Morgenfeld asked her in front of colleagues, “What is your job anyway?” and gave her feedback that she believed was sexist.

Brougher claims that Morgenfeld also raised his voice and terminated a call when she questioned him on a video chat.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that CEO Silbermann was dismissive of her concerns about Morgenfield, comparing it to domestic dispute, according to the lawsuit, which added that Human Resources treated the complaint as a legal matter, instead.

Brougher also said that Morgenfeld wrote in her performance review that her biggest accomplishment at the company was championing diversity issues.

“Reducing a female executive’s achievements to ‘diversity’ is a common form of gender discrimination,” she said. “Being a woman at Pinterest was not my only accomplishment.”

The former COO added that after being asked to say she left Pinterest on her own terms, “I was not going to lie to my team and did not sign the NDA presented to me.”

“I realized it was more important to finally be an advocate for women at Pinterest, and for anyone else experiencing the pernicious effects of sexism, bias, and retaliation,” she added.

According to NYT, a Pinterest spokeswoman said, “Our employees are incredibly important to us,” and that the company is conducting an independent review regarding its culture, policies and practices, as it is committed to advancing its culture so “all of our employees feel included and supported.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.