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.
she felt threatened, Kelly Ellis, a former Google software
engineer locked in a high-profile legal battle with the Mountain
View technology giant over its salary practices, received a
temporary restraining order Wednesday in Superior Court in San
Francisco against Alex Gulakov, 26.
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.
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 in a phone interview Friday.
in emails to this news organization, 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.
Gulakov and Ellis have been posting online about their dispute,
which did not occur while either of them worked with Google.
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.
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 — from 2014’s
“Gamergate” death threats against developer Zoe Quinn, to the
sexual-harassment allegations in a public blog post by former Uber
engineer Susan Fowler that helped oust former CEO Travis Kalanick,
to the memo by subsequently fired Googler James Damore, who argued
there was a biological basis for the lack of women in tech.
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.
alleged harassment by Gulakov — a software-development contractor
for three months at Google in 2014 — started around 11 a.m.
Tuesday, she claimed in an application for a restraining order
submitted the next day.
sent me a rape threat on Twitter, writing: ‘you deserve to be
raped fat worthless (profanity),'” Ellis’ court filing stated. On
Twitter, Ellis — who has since made her own tweets private —
shared a screen shot of Gulakov’s purported rape threat.
posting on Twitter, Gulakov called Ellis on her personal phone,
she said in court documents. “He began screaming at me,” she
wrote, and called her a “feminazi,” demanding she stop advocating
for gender equality in tech.
wrote that she told him to stop contacting her, but he
called several more times and sent more than 30 texts
over the next several hours.
phoned police, and while awaiting their arrival, Gulakov sent a
text saying he was in her neighborhood, her court application
said. “He wanted me to meet him at a restaurant that was on the
same city block as my residence,” Ellis wrote. “I am very
frightened that he knows where I live and that he came to my
address trying to harass me in person.”
said in a phone interview that Gulakov also posted her address and
photo on a number of online platforms, including 4chan.
Gulakov said he’d found her personal information on 4chan and
other message boards.
emails to this news organization, he said he had contacted Ellis —
who is outspoken on Twitter about gender and political issues
— “to talk to her to get her to stop this cycle of hate where she
seizes every thing to critisize (sic),” he said.
tweeted about rape to get her attention, he said. “I said it
as a provocative starter that she deserves it from her many haters
online. She invites this hatred on herself by creating these types
of fake news spectacles,” Gulakov said by email. “The
deserves rape was a troll comment to gauge how reactionary she is
to trolls, I used that to tell her that she should not feed
trollbait because that only encourages it.”
said he phoned Ellis to apologize for his “obvious troll Twitter
comment” and that he only texted her “to ASSURE her of
her safety and that I dont intent (sic) her harm.”
said he wanted to help warn Ellis that “her other haters might
wish her harm.”
Gulakov, whose posts about Ellis have appeared on Reddit pages
supporting President Donald Trump and men’s rights, noted that Trump
“won repudiating the mainstream narrative of political correctness,”
and said that the “era of PC culture is over.” The real bullies, he
said, are Ellis and other “misguided SJW (social justice warrior)
activists” who manufacture “fake outrage” over online trolls.
is not the first female tech worker to accuse Gulakov of
harassment. Software engineer Ingrid Avendaño, one of three Latina
women who jointly sued Uber in October alleging discrimination
against women and people of color, tweeted out a screen shot from
an online platform in which someone she identified as Gulakov
wrote, “She’s ruining it for non feminazi women,” and “I will
be a hero for men’s freedom once she gets raped and killed.” The
writer also said, “Got her address from my prior rape attempt.”
his email to this news organization, Gulakov admitted
calling Avendaño “fat and a tech-suing man-hating misguided
feminazi,” but said he “did not make any prior rape attempts on
ingrid and left her alone.” He would never make such a statement
as a “serious threat,” he said.