The terror campaign EBay waged against a couple of bloggers has been well documented. Now David and Ina Steiner, the subjects of the outrageous campaign — a dead pig’s head, pornographic materials, delivery of live cockroaches and a book “Grief Diaries: Loss of a Spouse” — have finally spoken out.
In a 2,500-word report published Saturday by the Boston Globe, the couple discussed EBay’s actions against them. It’s a chilling read, but worthwhile. Shocking. And the 93-page complaint in the lawsuit the couple filed against EBay, former CEO Devin Wenig, and other EBay employees is even more chilling. Especially because it makes clear Wenig’s direct involvement in the intimidation campaign — even though he has denied it — and shows how awful the company’s misbehavior was.
“I was terrified,” Ina Steiner told the Globe. “It was surreal.”
Once, when a man parked in front of their house at 4:30 in the morning and took a package out of the back seat of his car, David Steiner told Ina to call police. “We thought he had a gun,” she recalled.
Another time they were stalked, a black van passed their house. “We felt in danger, we felt like targets,” Ina Steiner told the Globe.
EBay has issued a statement apologizing to the couple, who publish the ECommerceBytes blog, and promised, “We will do what is fair and appropriate to try to address what the Steiners went through.”
When he left EBay in September 2019, after the company’s board learned of his actions, Wenig received $57 million from the company. (Shocking, Part 2: He’s a member of the New York State Bar Association, meaning he’s a lawyer who should have known better. And he’s now — still! — on the board of directors of General Motors, and recently joined the Global Advisory Board of Salesforce.)
Although nothing could make up for the campaign against them, there’s a simple solution: EBay, which has a market capitalization of $46.5 billion and delivered profits of $758 million in Q1 of 2021, should write the Steiners a check for $58 million, one million more than Wenig received on his way out the door. And then EBay should separately pay the Steiners’ legal bill. Graciously. And make its atonement (and settlement) public.
A former police officer who was an executive on the EBay security team has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in the terror campaign. The judge in the case called the actions “abominable,” adding, “It’s almost unfathomable … . I’m not sure if I saw it on television I would find it believable.” Several others have pleaded guilty, and two are awaiting trial.