Recruiter sends jaw-droppingly sexist email to female engineer – then claims it was a stunt

Sexist harassment of women on the internet – especially women in tech – is far from new. But usually, the trolls have the sense to use a fake name and a throwaway email address so they won’t get caught. Not so in the case of Justin D’Agostino, a tech recruiter based in San Francisco, who thought sending this outrageously sexist email to Software Engineer Kelly Ellis was a superb idea (warning: sweary):

Image: Kelly Ellis

FYI, if you find yourself writing “sorry for being jackass” [sic] at the end of your email, don’t send the email. You haven’t BEEN a jackass yet. If you’re aware that you’re being one, maybe… don’t?

Kelly, understandably, reacted with horror and disgust, and following further engagement with D’Agostino (after verifying it really was him via Google+ and LinkedIn), realised he was trying to use her as a platform for his thoughts. He asked her to link to his Twitter account, then to post an article he’d written on Medium (where Kelly works, according to LinkedIn), both requests she refused – why give a troll a voice?

Eventually, D’Agostino changed his tactics entirely and tried to be friends with Ellis, before claiming his disgraceful email was “intentional bullshit” designed to get her attention. If anyone in the world believes that line, we’ve got some timeshares you might be interested in.

Followed by claiming that his horrible email was “just words Kelly” – to which he got a much-deserved smackdown:

Harassment is “just words” in the same way that kicking someone in the nads is “just movement”. Great defence, dude. When that didn’t work, he turned on the (pretend) waterworks:

Aww, have a tissue for your sad sexist tears.

You can read the whole sorry episode on Storify, but in case it needed saying: sending offensive and sexist emails is a bad idea. Sending offsensive and sexist emails from your work account to someone in the same industry is an extremely bad idea. But subsequently claiming the emails were a stunt? That’s just embarrassing.

Great work, Justin. We’ll definitely be calling you next time we want a bro job.

Main image: Kevinshine via Flickr Creative Commons

Holly Brockwell