Sexist tweets cost Business Insider exec his job

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pax.jpg

Pax Dickinson (Twitter Photo)

 

by Jose Pagliery

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Business Insider’s chief technology officer, Pax Dickinson, has lost his job over homophobic, racist and sexist comments online.

The website’s editor-in-chief, Henry Blodget, made the announcement in a written post Tuesday.

“A Business Insider executive has made some comments on Twitter that do not reflect our values and have no place at our company. The executive has left the company, effective immediately,” he stated.

When asked by CNNMoney whether Dickinson was fired or if he quit, Blodget simply referred to his statement.

Dickinson was the publication’s top tech manager since 2010, having served in similar roles at retailer TheGoodChina.com and Zagat Survey.

Dickinson’s long history of hateful speech was first noticed by Silicon Valley blog Valleywag on Monday. Here’s a narrow selection of tweets and comments he left on Business Insider stories, edited to block expletives:

“Feminism in tech remains the champion topic for my block list. My finger is getting tired.” “Aw, you can’t feed your family on minimum wage? Well who told you to start a f—ing family when your skills are only worth minimum wage?” “I think we need an MLK cartoon day to prove to the progressives that their prophet is fair game for humor too.” “Not on a list of influential people? Whine that it didn’t include enough women and maybe they’ll lower the bar for you. #femaleprivilege” “Who has more dedication, ambition, and drive? Kobe only raped one girl, Lebron raped an entire city. +1 for Lebron.” “At least if we end up getting into a nuclear standoff with Russia over gay rights we’ll know this universe is just a satirical simulation.” “In The Passion Of The Christ 2, Jesus gets raped by a pack of n—-rs. It’s his own fault for dressing like a whore though.”

The Valleywag article led to several jeers on Twitter and accusations of class discrimination and misogyny. Dickinson responded by defending his views. He even challenged New York City startup founder Anil Dash to a physical fight at a chocolate bakery.

Dickinson’s retort to all: “It is not misogyny to tell a sexist joke, or to fail to take a woman seriously, or to enjoy boobies.”

Dickinson didn’t respond to CNNMoney’s request for comment. But on his Twitter account after the news broke, he showed little remorse.

“I gained 850 twitter followers and +7 @klout in less than 24 hours. Now offering social media consulting services,” he said.

Dickinson’s behavior and comments aren’t unique in the male-dominated tech community. He is just another self-described “brogrammer” — a term used to describe loud and boisterous male tech workers.

The brogrammer culture has infected the startup community and has led to rude incidents at work and tech conferences. Some feel this behavior further alienates the few female graduates in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) who wind up getting jobs in the tech sector.

At this past weekend’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference, two new iPhone apps promoted masturbation and staring at women’s breasts — despite the presence in the audience of professional women and girls hoping to one day join the tech industry.

And at the PyCon conference earlier this year, three developers at different companies were fired when one, a woman, publicly shamed two men for making sexually charged jokes about tech lingo. All three were let go for their behavior, but industry insiders largely saw the firing of developer Adria Richards as retribution for the manner in which she spoke out against widespread sexism in the tech world.

Since the Valleywag story, Dickinson has feigned surprise at the public’s reaction to his statements. But a comment he made on Twitter in mid-August indicates he was well aware of their vulgarity.

“I like the tech world because the bar for professional behavior is set so very, very low by our elites,” he said.

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