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March 21, 2017

Company's CEO, Who Calls Herself a "She-E.O.," Sued for Sexual Harassment

Teach women not to sexually harass other women.

Thinx (or SheThinx) is one of those chixsploitation companies that specializes in selling political statement wearables, like "Period Panties," panties that they say can absorb as much fluid as two tampons.

Which, frankly, doesn't sound like a bad idea to me but whatever, not the point Ace, keep on the subject.

But the company seemed to be mostly selling Empowerment.

When Thinx launched, it was known mostly for its boundary-breaking advertisements (their ads were the first to say "period" on the subway). Last year, for an article about ending period shame, Agrawal described Thinx's brand to The FADER by saying, "It's like texting your best girlfriend. Because [Thinx] talks about it without embarrassment, it gives permission to others to talk about it in the same way."

Agrawal continued, saying, "The entire period space has been so tired and so lame... [Now] it's artful, it’s beautiful, and it’s culturally relevant."

"Period space." I guess she means the artistic space, the frisson, of talkin' about periods.

The "She-E.O.," who I gather is actually a woman and not a transgender as I was expecting (though I'm open to being surprised on this point), is allegedly very sexually aggressive, particularly about women's breasts. Although she's also heterosexual. (Mostly, I guess.)

She sounds nuts. That is, she sounds exactly like the sort of person given to decrying the lame state of our current period space discourse.

I'll just excerpt here or there but you should just read the whole thing. It's nuttier than a Snicker's bar.

Miki Agrawal, the co-founder of Thinx -- a company that makes "period underwear" -- doesn't think much of boundaries. "I just love the taboo space"....

There she goes again with that usage of "space." Gender Studies major, I'm thinking.

According to a complaint filed late last week by a former employee (and echoed in interviews with multiple current and former employees), those things have included: the size and shape of her employees' breasts, an employee's nipple piercings, her own sexual exploits, her desire to experiment with polyamory, her interest in entering a sexual relationship with one of her employees, and the exact means by which she was brought to female ejaculation. Her alleged boundary-breaking in the workplace isn't just verbal. Per the detailed complaint, filed with the City of New York Commission on Human Rights, Agrawal also touched an employee’s breasts and asked her to expose them, routinely changed clothes in front of employees, and conducted meetings via videoconference while in bed, apparently unclothed. (She also is said in the filing to have shared nude photos of herself and others -- "including but not limited to her fiance" --with staff.) At least once, she supposedly FaceTimed into a meeting from the toilet.


The filing -- which also names the company's COO and CFO, for their failure to address repeated complaints about Agrawal's behavior -- comes on the heels, just over a week ago, of Agrawal's leaving from her post as CEO (as first reported in Jezebel) and the publication of an article in Racked that made clear that, despite the company’s feminist branding and mission, the women who worked there felt exploited by low pay and substandard benefits.


Leibow, who was fired in December after months of voicing concerns about Agrawal’s behavior, had started a year before and been promoted midyear. At first, the company culture seemed refreshingly "open and honest," she said to me over the phone. A month or two after her arrival, however, Agrawal said she had an "obsession" with Leibow's breasts, and "helped herself," as Leibow put it to me last week. "I didn’t say anything to her at the time. If you’ve ever been touched without your consent, you know it’s jarring. The whole atmosphere was one of: this is fine, this isn’t a big deal."


The incident, Leibow told me, developed into a pattern, with Agrawal regularly commenting on how Leibow’s breasts looked in various outfits, and touching them, both while the two were alone, and in front of others. Agrawal gave similar attention to other employees whose bodies Leibow described as, like her own, "curvy.' (According to the filing, Agrawal "molested at least one other female employee’s breasts." Agrawal denies any breast-touching.)


Agrawal-- whose brand was lauded for its body positivity, and for including visible stretch marks in its advertising-- also regularly engaged in what another employee termed "fat-shaming," commenting on people’s weights either directly or behind their backs. One of the perks of the office was ice-cream Fridays; Agrawal suggested that the treat ought to be changed to fruit because ice cream was unhealthy, and because employees were too heavy, said multiple former staffers.... When employees brought up the notion of expanding Thinx's offerings into further plus sizes due to customer demand, Agrawal replied that anyone larger than a 3X ought to go to the gym and lose weight rather than purchase new underwear, according to multiple sources. Agrawal calls the fat-shaming accusations "unfounded," and adds that she suggested having "fruit and berries to support healthy living."

From there it's a lot of stuff about her penchant for casual workplace nudity and other bits of harassment of women, and generally vicious treatment of her female employees. Worth reading, but I can't quote it.

I have to quote this kicker though. So much lunacy to unpack here:


Agrawal-- who recently raised $500,000 of funding for Tushy, her bidet venture -- is slated to speak on March 23 at the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week’s Women's Summit, directly following a discussion on "Navigating Sexuality at Work: Finding the Line Between Harmless and Harassment."

Oh you can also check out a post she wrote at Medium describing her trip to (where else?) The Burning Man festival. Apparently she wanted her employees to follow her crazy adventures.

4. Andrew and I went to the Orgy Dome to try and conceive for the first time ever. We just got engaged 2 weekends ago so what better time than to get baby making going! What was SO wild was that I really wanted to conceive on the Playa but I was supposed to ovulate the week before Burning Man. For whatever reason, my period was a week late, making my ovulation window during the week of Burning Man! The Playa Gods delivered once again! And what better place to attempt conception than the Orgy Dome? The Orgy Dome was another deep lesson on how to release the idea of being self-conscious, specifically in the sexual department.

They had a choice between the "Couples Only" and Group Grope sections of the Orgy Dome. Thankfully, they chose the former.

Apparently she's now pregnant so I guess the Playa Gods really delivered in the Orgy Dome.

And hopefully she'll get to experience her wish of having an "orgasmic" birth.

Thanks to The Dude/@woodwhisperers.

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posted by Ace at 12:54 PM

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