Things just keep getting worse and worse for Thinx founder Miki Agrawal. The latest news includes a former employee bringing a sexual harassment lawsuit against the CEO.
Thinx, the period underwear brand which has built its empire upon the pillars of “feminism,” is facing more and more backlash as the past and present employees bring claims against the company. The latest comes from Chelsea Leibow, the former head of PR, who is accusing Agrawal of sexual harassment, in addition to fostering a work environment based on fear. According to the complaint, the harassment included: commenting on employees’ breasts, an employee’s nipple piercing, discussing her own sexual exploits and desire to try polyamory, opening talking about her desire to be sexual with an employee, touching an employee’s breasts, changing clothes in front of employees, and conducting video meetings while naked in bed.
Well, that sounds awkward at the least!
Agrawal recently officially resigned as CEO recently but is staying on informally as the “SHE-eo.” We wonder how long that will last…
3/15/17: Turns out Thinx period underwear isn’t the feminist haven once thought.
Current and former employees are calling out the company, and the CEO and founder Miki Agrawal in particular for fostering a hostile work environment.
We’ve previously covered the ground-breaking work that Thinx has done, from creating the first period advertisement with a transgender model to making new reusable tampon applicators to cut down on environmental waste. But it turns out that behind the scenes, things weren’t so peachy.
Employees are stepping out from behind the curtain to reveal that the work environment that Agrawal creates is “abusive” at best. Many anonymous employees opened up to Racked for an expose the website did on the founder.
One employee said,
“It honestly felt like a middle school environment: pitting people against each other, calling us petty children and [saying that we were] immature and that we’re all these millennials that don’t know anything — meanwhile we’re being paid easily $30,000 under industry standard salaries.
It was truly like being in an abusive relationship. And I don’t use that analogy lightly… I don’t know if you’ve ever had the feeling when you walk into a place — whether it’s with your family or a job or a friendship circle — and you simply just don’t know how the other person is going to react. One day they could be in a super great mood and everything’s fine and dandy and you’re being praised left and right, or else you walk in and you’re treated like you’re dirt… That takes an emotional and physical toll on you. To wake up every day and not know how you’re going to be treated that day is really quite awful.”
Racked claims to have quotes from at least a half-dozen more employees that say the same thing.
And if that’s not to be believed, you can easily check out the company’s reviews on Glassdoor, in which only 15% of the reviewers would recommend working at the company to a friend.
Of course, we have to keep in mind that review sites like Glassdoor often draw a negative crowd and past and present employees who are looking for a chance to complain without repercussions.
So if that’s not enough to convince you then consider Agrawal’s resignation as she is currently in the midst of stepping down from her role as CEO.
This isn’t the first time the company has found itself in controversy. Fans previously called attention to the fact that Agrawal refused to call herself a “feminist” until launching the brand (She told The Cut, “[e]very time I thought about the word feminist, I thought about an angry, ranty… girl”). They claimed that she was riding the current feminist wave as a marketing ploy.
So what do you think? Is Thinx a feminist fraud?
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.