By Ethan Baron
The Mercury News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) One of the women suing Google for allegedly paying women less than men has come under attack from a former Google contractor who tweeted, among other things, that she deserved to be raped.
The Mercury News
Saying she felt threatened, Kelly Ellis, a former Google software engineer in a legal battle with the company over its salary practices, received a temporary restraining order in Superior Court in San Francisco against Alex Gulakov, 26.
Ellis, 33, alleged in her court filing that Gulakov targeted her for speaking out about gender issues and said he had included links about her Google lawsuit in online diatribes against her.
“What scared me the most was that this was a total stranger who I’d never interacted with before this started, and how quickly this escalated,” Ellis said Friday.
Gulakov, in emails, disputed many of Ellis’ claims but admitted writing a social media post “implying she deserves rape.” He suggested he was just trying to get her attention and did not intend to harm her. Ellis and other “misguided” feminists are making life worse for “reasonable women,” he wrote.
Both Gulakov and Ellis have been posting online about their dispute, which did not occur while either of them worked with Google.
Civil-harassment orders such as the one Ellis sought are obtained on the basis of a victim’s declaration and do not indicate the accused party is guilty. A hearing in Ellis’ case has been set for Jan. 24.
Ellis’ new legal action highlights a growing cultural conflict in the male-dominated technology industry, which has been at the center of a public debate over gender and diversity.
Harassment of women in tech is exacerbating the gender imbalance in the industry, said Adriana Gascoigne, CEO of Girls in Tech, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing more women into the industry. “It is deterring women from entering into the tech workforce because they hear stories, they talk to friends, family members, colleagues, and who would want to work in an industry where you have to watch your back all the time and you have to deal with misogynistic behavior?” Gascoigne said.