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'Queen of GitHub' who quit over gender harassment offers details of alleged bullying

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(via Daniel Bogan / <a href="">Use This</a>)
(via Daniel Bogan / Use This)
(via Daniel Bogan / Use This)

Julie Ann Horvath, the designer and developer who publicly quit the popular programming platform GitHub over claims of gender harassment, has given TechCrunch more details about what she describes as a bizarre and abusive work environment.

The story is convoluted and stretches back over months. Horvath declined to provide names, but she says a coworker harassed her after being turned down for a date, a founder tried to have her pushed out for dating another coworker, and that same founder's wife basically stalked her for unclear reasons.

She also says the general culture at GitHub grew increasingly hostile toward women even as the company hired more females. The final straw was when a female coworker and a friend were hula hooping to music in the office, and male coworkers lined up on a bench to stare. "It looked like something out of a strip club," Horvath says. "When I brought this up to male coworkers, they didn’t see a problem with it. But for me it felt unsafe and to be honest, really embarrassing. That was the moment I decided to finally leave GitHub."

"It felt unsafe and to be honest, really embarrassing."

Horvath is well-known in the developer community, giving frequent talks and hosting the Passion Projects lecture series that invites prominent female techies to speak at GitHub. She worked at GitHub for almost exactly two years and apparently already has another job lined up. GitHub told TechCrunch it is investigating the matter.

Update, 10:58PM: GitHub CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath has responded in a blog post. "We know we have to take action and have begun a full investigation. While that’s ongoing, and effective immediately, the relevant founder has been put on leave, as has the referenced GitHub engineer [who asked Horvath out]," he writes. "I would like to personally apologize to Julie. It’s certain that there were things we could have done differently."