Ripcord CEO faces allegations of improper behavior

Perry Coneybeer, who left college at age 19 to work full-time at Ripcord, is alleging improper behavior by Ripcord CEO Alex Fielding. Coneybeer also alleges she was fired in retaliation for reporting a fellow employee to human resources.

In a Medium post published today, Coneybeer alleges Fielding told graphic, sexual stories involving other employees. One story was about an employee who allegedly sent Fielding porn, which Fielding then allegedly watched during the workday.

“He proudly told us he opened and watched the videos all the way through during the audits,” she wrote. “He then graphically described and pantomimed a sexual act called ‘gloving.’ He explained the act several times–it seemed that he interpreted the confusion on our faces to mean that we didn’t quite understand the mechanics.”

Fielding also allegedly had a bazooka next to his desk. But it wasn’t just Fenkell who behaved improperly, Coneybeer writes. It was throughout the company.

What ultimately brought Coneybeer to go to HR was when an employee at a company holiday party allegedly made a joke to her boyfriend about raping her. Coneybeer said she reported this to her boss, who then escalated it to HR.

Ripcord fired the person who made the rape joke. But within one month, both Coneybeer and her boss were also let go. Coneybeer told TechCrunch she considered filing a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination and retaliation, but decided going this route may be more effective.

Coneybeer feels confident in telling her story because she did not sign the severance agreement upon being fired, she told TechCrunch. That agreement included a non-disclosure clause pertaining to speaking negatively of the company.

Ripcord, a company that uses robots to digitize paper records, has raised $85 million in total from Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Legend Star, Lux Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Telstra Ventures, Steve Wozniak and con Ventures.

TechCrunch has reached out to Ripcord and is waiting to hear back. Ripcord, in a statement to Business Insider, said its board is investigating Coneybeer’s allegations and will take appropriate action, if needed. Ripcord also said it “cares deeply about fostering a positive workplace culture. Respect and integrity are absolutely integral to our ability to success.”

As for Coneybeer, she plan to return to school as a sophomore in September. She’s also currently looking for internships in tech, with the hope that the industry can change.

“It disheartens me to think that this is the way the tech industry is right now,” she wrote. “I’m optimistic, though, that a change can be made. The first step is for people to come forward with their stories.”

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors on government surveillance and her upcoming book

In the last year, members of the government have accused the Black Lives Matter organization of being a terrorist organization, calling those associated with it “Black Identity Extremists.” An August FBI report, called “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers,” broadly categorized black activists as a threat to national security.

Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, described it to TechCrunch as COINTELPRO 2.0. COINTELPRO was a federal surveillance program that targeted civil rights leaders like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and members of the Black Panther Party. In the present day, methods of government surveillance can entail anything from social media monitoring to the gathering of location data.

“We take this really seriously, but we’ve seen this before,” Cullors told me. “The unfortunate reality is black folks during the 50s, 60s, 70s didn’t have social media. They didn’t have the advantage to know the FBI and CIA are spying on them. We are realizing it in real time.”

While reports like that are”deeply disturbing,” Cullors said, Black Lives Matter is in a time where its movement is alive and well. For example, LA’s Black Lives Matter chapter is currently taking on the district attorney, who has yet to prosecute a single officer for the murder of black residents.

“Our DA has not prosecuted one cop,” Cullors said. “Black Lives Matter LA is really holding our district attorney’s feet to the fire.”

Over in Toronto, the Black Lives Matter chapter recently won its fight to get cops permanently out of schools in the city. The Toronto District School Board launched a School Resource Officer program in 2008, which brought police officers into schools. Following criticism and calls to remove the police officers from Black Lives Matter and other activists, the school board voted late last month to end the program.

“We are in this movement moment where over 40 chapters across the globe are engaged in campaign activities, winning new policies for black people,” Cullors said. “Our decentralized, localized leadership structure has really allowed for Black Lives Matter structures in their own communities to take on the state and take on some of the most egregious acts against black people.”

Cullors said she is also pleased with the response of some black government officials. Cullors pointed to how Representative Karen Bass grilled Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the FBI report on “black identity extremists” during an oversight hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in November.

Next year, Cullors has plans to go on a book tour for her upcoming memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist, co-authored with asha bandele. Her goal with the book is for it to sell at least 250,000 copies in the first year and “reach as many folks as possible,” she said.

“This book is for young black girls around the world,” Cullors said. “Those of us who have lived through state violence and over-policing — for black girls who have witnessed family members die because of the war on drugs and incarceration. It’s my offering to this generation to tell another story about black activists and the experience we had as children.”

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