SendGrid and Playhaven Fires Employees Because Of Twitter Feud And The Word “Dongle”

Posted Mar 21, 2013

“Dongle” is a funny word.  Even Samsung’s “AllShare Play” ad pokes fun at the word.  Adria Richards, an evangelist for SendGrid, was offended about two men making a joke about the word while sitting behind her at the PyCon conference.  This is why she sent out the tweet below.  Her tweet and blog post about the issue was spread on Hacker News.  One of the men in the photo was a developer at Playhaven and he was fired.

That developer is known as Mr-Hank and he said “As a result of the picture she took I was let go from my job today. Which sucks because I have 3 kids and I really liked that job.”  He added “she gave me no warning, she smiled while she snapped the pic and sealed my fate. Let this serve as a message to everyone, our actions and words, big or small, can have a serious impact.”

Mr-Hank candidly admitted that he did make a dongle jokes, but said that he did not make a fork joke in a sexual context:
“While I did make a big dongle joke about a fictional piece hardware that identified as male, no sexual jokes were made about forking. My friends and I had decided forking someone’s repo is a new form of flattery (the highest form being implementation) and we were excited about one of the presenters projects; a friend said ‘I would fork that guys repo’ The sexual context was applied by Adria, and not us.”

Richards said that she believes the developer should not have been fired.  She simply just wanted to call him out.  People that believe the Playhaven developer should not have been fired pointed out that Richards is known for making jokes regarding sexual content too:

Unfortunately, Adria Richards was fired from SendGrid as a result of the feud too.  SendGrid posted the following message on her Facebook Page

Effective immediately, SendGrid has terminated the employment of Adria Richards. While we generally are sensitive and confidential with respect to employee matters, the situation has taken on a public nature. We have taken action that we believe is in the overall best interests of SendGrid, its employees, and our customers. As we continue to process the vast amount of information, we will post something more comprehensive.

SendGrid was hit with a DDoS attack and was taken down earlier today.  Personally I do not like being censored, but I suppose the moral of the story here is that people should be careful about how they act and behave at conferences when representing their company.