Pinterest's former COO sues for alleged gender discrimination

Francoise Brougher says she was fired for speaking out about rampant discrimination and misogyny at Pinterest.

Carrie Mihalcik Former Managing Editor / News
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Pinterest users create virtual pinboards.


A former chief operating officer has accused Pinterest of gender discrimination and retaliation. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, ex-COO Francoise Brougher alleges that she was marginalized and excluded from important decisions for refusing to "take a back seat to her male peers." Brougher, who worked as COO for two years, said she was terminated in April for objecting to demeaning and sexist treatment. 

"Pinterest's female executives, even at the highest levels, are marginalized, excluded, and silenced," Brougher said in a statement published on Medium. "According to Pinterest, I was fired not for the results I achieved, but for not being 'collaborative.' I believe that I was fired for speaking out about the rampant discrimination, hostile work environment, and misogyny that permeates Pinterest."

 A spokesperson said Pinterest, a lifestyle-focused social network whose audience is around 70 percent female, is reviewing the complaint, adding that it's committed to a culture in which all employees feel included and supported.

"There is an ongoing independent review regarding our culture, policies and practices," a Pinterest spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Our employees are incredibly important to us and we take all concerns brought to our attention seriously."

In June, two former Pinterest employees, both black women, said they experienced racial discrimination and faced retaliation after raising concerns about unfair pay in the workplace.

In response to the accusations from Brougher and other former employees, some Pinterest workers are planning a walkout on Friday to demand change from the company.

Silicon Valley has long struggled with diversity and has faced repeated accusations of gender bias. Numerous tech giants, including FacebookTwitterUber and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, have also been accused of gender discrimination.