Wow! We reported in June about the intimidation campaign (allegedly) undertaken by EBay employees against Ina and David Steiner, who run the blog ECommerceBytes. The Wall Street Journal did a solid article about it. But The New York Times has taken that reporting to a new level.
The campaign was like something out of a movie. In fact, no doubt there are enterprising Hollywood producers trying now to figure out how to option it and turn it into a movie. The Times article, by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Streitfeld, is worth reading (but incredibly scary and disappointing).
Five of the seven defendants are expected to plead guilty in a hearing on Oct. 8, Bloomberg reported last week. Veronica Zea, one of the former EBay workers, spoke to the times about the case, saying she was a pawn in the activity and was intimidated into it by her bosses.
The harassment was devastating, according to the federal indictment of the EBay employees: They sent a bloody pig mask to the Steiners; a funeral wreath and a book, “Grief Diaries: Surviving the Loss of a Spouse;” fly larvae, live spiders and a box of cockroaches; pizzas delivered to their house at 4:30 a.m., and worse. (Can you imagine worse? It got worse.)
Former CEO Devin Wenig, heavily implicated in the case but not charged with a crime, left the company shortly after the indictments and received a $57 million exit package. He still sits on the board of General Motors. And former executive Steve Wymer, who was also implicated, is now CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, which described him as “a leader with integrity.”
After the allegations became public, EBay management sent a company-wide memo saying the charges were “deeply troubling” and against the company’s cultural values.