Donglegate / Adria Richards
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While attending the 2013 Python programming language convention PyCon on March 17th, 2013, developer evangelist Adria Richards tweeted a photo of a group of developers seated behind her during a plenary session, stating that they had been making crude jokes about “forking” and “‘big’ dongles.” She also sent a follow up tweet, citing PyCon’s Code of Conduct which states that “all communication should be appropriate for a professional audience” and “harassment and sexist, racist or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate.”
Not cool.Jokes about forking repo's in a sexual way and "big" dongles.Right behind me #pycon twitter.com/adriarichards/…— Adria Richards (@adriarichards) March 17, 2013
Following her tweet, PyCon staff members contacted her via Twitter asserting that they had dealt with the situation. The following day, Richards presented her account of the entire situation on her blog, explaining that she initially chose not to say anything to the men out of fear of “being heckled or [having my] experience denied,” but later tweeted her complaints out of concern for future women developers.
March 20th: PyCon Responds
On March 20th, PyCon issued an official statement about the situation on their blog, stating that both parties were addressed in private where they agreed and apologized. Contrary to initial reports, neither party was removed from the conference. The organizers also noted that they valued their attendee’s privacy and later updated their Attendee Procedure for Incident Handling to add that they do not condone public shaming in these incidents.
March 21st: Terminations
In the early morning on March 21st, CEO of Playhaven Andy Yang posted a statement about the incident to the company blog, announcing that the offending person had been fired from the company. By noon on the same day, SendGrid announced Richards' termination on Twitter and Facebook, despite an early tweet from Richards (shown below) claiming that SendGrid supported her.
Hey mundanematt, it's clear from the last 24 hours you're a bully.sendgrid supports me.Stop trolling.— Adria Richards (@adriarichards) March 20, 2013
As news about the incident spread across Twitter, #Donglegate emerged as the hashtag for related discussions, which was used more than 1000 times on March 20th. On Reddit, nearly 100 unique threads about the incident were submitted to different subreddits including /r/MensRights, /r/TumblrInAction, /r/geek and /r/news. There were also two popular posts in /r/Technology that were removed by the moderators. On March 21st, a Redditor on /r/Geek pointed out a tweet Richards made on March 14th (shown below) making a joke about a friend stuffing socks into his crotch region in response to him getting a pat-down by TSA agents, intending to point out her hypocrisy. The post accrued more than 2100 upvotes, 1300 points overall and nearly 750 comments within 13 hours.
skwashd you should put something in your pants next time…like a bunch of socks inside one…large…sock.TSA agent faint— Adria Richards (adriarichards) March 14, 2013
News Media Coverage
The Daily Dot was the first site to cover the incident on March 20th, followed by coverage on Techcrunch. BetaBeat, New York Magazine, Businessweek, Mashable, Buzzfeed, VentureBeat, The Atlantic and Ars Technica the next day. It was also reported that SendGrid suffered from DDoS attacks following the online backlash.
At 6:30 PM on March 21st, SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin issued a longer statement about Richards’ termination via a blog post wherein he explained that while the company supported her right to report the incident, they did not support the means by which she did it or the extreme responses that came from it. He also claimed her actions "strongly divided the same community she was supposed to unite" making her unable to effectively do her job, resulting in her termination.
[Not Currently Available]
 Twitter – @adriarichards' Code of Conduct Tweet
 PyCon – Code of Conduct
 Twitter – @pycon's Tweet
 Adria Richards – Forking and Dongle Jokes Don’t Belong At Tech Conferences
 PyCon – PyCon's response to an inappropriate incident on March 17th
 PyCon Code of Conduct – Attendee Procedure for incident handling.md
 Twitter – Tweet results for #donglegate
 Topsy – Tweet statistics for #donglegate
 Bloghaven – Addressing PyCon
 Twitter – Richards' Termination Announcement
 Facebook – Richards' Termination Announcement
 Reddit – Search results for "Adria Richards"
 Reddit – Reaction by PyCon to Adria Richards bullying incident
 Reddit – Adria Richards has been fired from Sendgrid
 Reddit – Adria Richards has been terminated from SendGrid.
 Reddit – SendGrid Fires Adria Richards
 Reddit – /r/technology mods have now hidden two popular posts about the Adria Richards/Pycon Incident
 Reddit – Adria Richards, the "Developer Evangelist" who got someone fired from their job after overhearing a sexual joke at PyCon, just prefers her jokes to be about penises.
 Twitter – @adriarichards' TSA Sock Joke
 SendGrid – A Difficult Situation
 The Daily Dot – How a "big dongle" joke brought out the worst of the Internet
 Techcrunch – A Dongle Joke That Spiraled Way Out Of Control
 BetaBeat – Why Can’t the Tech Community Talk About Adria Richards Like Grownups?
 New York Magazine – All of Silicon Valley Is Scandalized Over a Stupid Dongle Joke
 Businessweek – Brogrammers Making Sex Jokes and Other Reasons Startups Need HR Departments
 Mashable – SendGrid Fires Company Evangelist After Twitter Fracas
 Buzzfeed – Woman Publicly Fired For Tweeting About “Sexual Jokes”
 VentureBeat – Breaking: Adria Richards fired by SendGrid for calling out developers on TwitterV
 VentureBeat – SendGrid under DDOS attack after its developer evangelist complains about sexual jokes at PyCon
 The Atlantic – Hackers Got a Woman Fired by a Startup After She Called Out Sexual Harassment
 Ars Technica – How “dongle” jokes got two people fired--and led to DDoS attacks
Mar 22, 2013 at 12:13AM EDT
Mar 21, 2013 at 08:36PM EDT
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