The female founder of the period underwear company, Thinx, has been accused of sexual harassment. A former employee of the company, Chelsea Leibow, has accused Miki Agrawal of making inappropriate comments, touching employees’ breasts and “having an aggressive and retaliatory demeanour”. Miki has announced that she is stepping down from her CEO post.
Chelsea told New York Magazine that Miki objectified her body and even made detailed comments about her breasts. The ex-employee said that this was a way for Miki to assert her dominance over other female employees. Another former employee said that the company felt like a middle school environment, where people were made to feel like they were ‘immature’ and ‘like being in an abusive relationship’.
Miki Agrawal has said that after 12 years of thinking about and working on THINX, she is officially stepping down as CEO of the company
Miki has refused to comment on these allegations, but in a Medium post, did acknowledge that she did not pay enough attention to human resources.
In her post, she says that “we grew so quickly and I didn’t hire an HR person. It was hard to rationalize hiring an HR person at the time with only 15 employees and then all of a sudden we were 30 people”.
Miki has said that after 12 years of thinking about and working on THINX, she is officially stepping down as CEO of the company.
“We are now bringing in a professional CEO and an HR manager who will be putting much more rigid HR practices in place. Also, just before stepping down, I hired three senior level managers to handle the bigger departments,” she said.
Ten out of the company’s 30 employees have left the company since January.
It’s quite ironic that the founder of a company that seeks to empower women has been accused of blatant harassment.
The story also brings up another important issue that is often neglected — women can and have sexually harassed other women. And if harassment does come from a woman, that doesn’t diminish the effects of harassment on a victim.