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Google Silent After Former Employee Tweets About Sexual Harassment From Superiors

Kelly Ellis, a software engineer at Google for more than four years, tweeted Saturday about recurring sexual harassment at the company. Despite multiple attempts to contact Google, the tech giant refused to publicly respond to the allegations.

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Google is refusing to comment on a series of tweets posted Saturday by a former employee who alleged she was repeatedly sexually harassed by her superiors.

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I've tweeted in the past about being afraid to burn bridges. Fuck them bridges, they're not worth my self respect.

Kelly Ellis described incidents in which superiors commented on her appearance and made sexual comments about other women.

In one instance during a company trip to Maui, she said a superior told her it was, "taking all of my self control not to grab your ass right now."

Ellis said many of the comments she felt she had to "laugh off" and not report to the company's human resources department for fear it would damage her career.

She said that instead of investigating her accused harasser, Google reprimanded her and offered her no support.

Rod Chavez is an engineering director at Google, he sexually harassed me, Google did nothing about it. Reprimanded me instead of him

"It's taking all of my self control not to grab your ass right now." VERBATIM quote from someone currently an engineering director at Goog

According to her LinkedIn profile, Ellis worked as a senior software engineer at Google from 2010 to 2014.

She now works for Medium, a blog-publishing platform based in San Francisco. While at Medium, she's written about women's role — or lack thereof — in the tech industry.

She was also named one of 20 women in the tech industry to follow on Google +.

Her comments on Twitter Saturday reverberated across social media, drawing hundreds of both supporters and critics.

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Lol people are saying I'm brave, I literally feel sick to my stomach right now

Ellis also said she did not receive support from the company when some of the issues were aired.

"He feels like you humiliated him in front of his reports." Something HR actually fucking said to me.

Buzzfeed News reached out several times on Saturday and Sunday to Google for comment on Ellis' allegations, but received no response from the tech giant.

In another incident described in Ellis' tweets, Rod Chavez — currently an engineering director at Google, according to his LinkedIn profile — made a comment during a company trip about grabbing her.

Another superior, Vic Gundotra — a former vice president of engineering, who helped lead the launch of Google + — allegedly also made comments about her appearance, according to Ellis.

"You look amazing in that bathing suit, like a rock star." -Vic Gundotra, to me, when I was a junior engineer at Google. In Maui.

Vic G to Matt S within earshot of me, on a boat in Maui: "doesn't Kelly look amazing heh heh"

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Buzzfeed News reached out to Vic Gundotra and Rod Chavez regarding Ellis' allegations. They did not respond for comment.

As she continued to tweet about her experiences at Google, Ellis said she had no proof to offer as to her allegations, but countered to online critics that gathering proof of events as they happened was next to impossible, barring eye witnesses.

Still, she said she felt the need to speak out to encourage others who may have similar experiences in the industry.

I'm going to come out and say that I have no proof. How do you prove something like this anyway? Believe me or not. But I'm not lying.

I hope more women feel the strength to come forward and out the harassers and those in power who enable them.

Ellis also blasted the company for doing nothing to curtail the behavior, and at one point reprimanding her.

She also criticized Google for the way the company handles harassment training and complaints.

The harassment "training" at Goog? Mostly about not getting in trouble. Nothing about respecting humanity of your peers.

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If Google really cared about helping women, they would've fired him, not promoted him. But saying they care makes great PR.

Of course, whenever anyone said something that made me uncomfortable, I had to laugh it off. None of this is stuff I ever talked to HR about

The behavior she described by her superiors and the company, she said, is the reason she left Google in 2014.

FYI I haven't worked at Google since July. This was the primary reason I left.

To all of my former colleagues: now you know the main reason I actually left! I lied to some people about it on my way out.

Buzzfeed News reached out to Ellis, but she said she did not want to speak to the media.

After hours of detailing her experiences, she also said had to desire to recap it after her public discussion Saturday.

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I have no plans to talk to the press about this. I've said what I had to say, now I'm planning to go back to writing code.

I am not planning on Tweeting, writing, or speaking about this further. I don't care if people believe me or not. (1/?)

I don't care if he gets fired - actually I'd prefer that didn't happen, since that will cause the harassment I'm already experiencing (2/?)

to multiply. The only thing I ever wanted out of this was to tell the truth after being silent for a really long time about it. I will (3/?)

be happy if, in some way, I have helped other women break the silence that enables this to happen. I'm going offline for the night. (4/5)

Heartfelt thank you to the many, many people who've reached out to me privately and publicly in support. You outnumber the jerks by far.

I have no proof of any of this. Did I just blow up my career? I hope not.

On Sunday, Ellis tweeted that she had received several rape threats after speaking out.

As of this morning, got password reset emails for a number of my accounts, along with several rape threats. Happy International Women's Day!

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Salvador Hernandez at salvador.hernandez@buzzfeed.com.

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