I was the Creative Producer at Upload until most of the Upload San Francisco staff and I quit after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against its founders. We used to love Upload for its reach and ambition, but our trust in the company has faltered since our departure. These are my thoughts on bro culture in tech and the impact of Upload’s silence.
Upload jump-started my career and made me feel welcome when I moved to San Francisco by myself. Will and Taylor treated me extremely well, and I once viewed them as both my mentors and friends. That’s why this whole ordeal shatters me. I’m so saddened by the fact that not everyone felt as welcome as I did. It makes me second guess how much I let slide under my nose in the name of trying to please other men. And it sucks to watch the men I used to look up to slide into a reality that I can’t endorse.
I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts on this situation for months, but when I tried to write things down, I ended up with a mishmash of multiple drafts until I had about 15 pages of repetitive gibberish that I was too nervous to share. I was about ready to let this go and move on, as I had done so many times this summer, when the sound of my doubts rang one last time. That’s when I realized I was fighting myself.
“If I speak up, will men I respect still do the things I’m trying to speak up against? Will those men think less of me? Will they stop wanting to hang out with me? Am I taking things too far?”
“Well shit,” I thought, as I leaned back in my chair. Here I was, trying to support gender equality, and yet all I could think about was censoring my words to solely protect the feelings of men. I was subconsciously prioritizing men over women, and that scared the shit out of me. But arriving at these realizations should be celebrated; it became another opportunity for me to acknowledge my faults and actively reprogram the parts of my mind that are still littered by casual sexism. So screw it, here’s what I have to say.