Sex parties, drugs and Silicon Valley: Upcoming book sheds light on #MeToo

Just how bad is it for women who work in Silicon Valley, the land of disruption and the tech capital of the world?

Think sex parties at mansions and chateaus where there are two women for every man in attendance, with alcohol aplenty and drugs “molded into the logos of some of the hottest tech companies.” Or “cuddle puddles” that later lead to more than just cuddling.

In “Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley,” a book by Bloomberg TV journalist Emily Chang that’s scheduled to come out next month, Chang gives us a glimpse into the sex parties based on interviews with nearly two dozen (mostly anonymous) people, according to an excerpt in Vanity Fair.

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The book, which will be released Feb. 6, isn’t the first we’ve heard about sex practices and drug use in Silicon Valley. (In fact, naked hot-tub parties weren’t unheard of during the birth of this high-tech region.)

But the book’s release comes in the wake of #MeToo — as the tech world is grappling with sexual harassment scandals, plus lawsuits alleging systemic gender pay gaps and as all the talk about diversifying the valley’s workforce yields little or no progress.

It’s no wonder progress has been slow. After all, according to Chang’s reporting, the “tech bros” who put on and go to such sex parties feel special and entitled. Sometimes they’re late bloomers who feel they’re entitled to catch up on the sex they didn’t get back in the day.

“Their behavior at these high-end parties is an extension of the progressiveness and open-mindedness—the audacity, if you will—that make founders think they can change the world,” Chang writes.

It also makes some of the men think that their behavior is not predatory, and that some of the women are actually taking advantage of them because they’re wealthy, according to the excerpt. They call those kinds of women “founder hounders,” Chang writes.

So what’s wrong with lavish parties where Molly/Ecstasy tablets help strip away inhibitions, as long as women are choosing to attend?

“Men actually get business done at sex parties and strip clubs,” Chang writes. “But when women put themselves in these situations, they risk losing credibility and respect.”

And if women are invited and don’t attend, one female entrepreneur tells Chang, they risk being left out of important, business-related decisions.

“It’s very hard to create a personal connection with a male investor, and if you succeed, they become attracted to you,” the unnamed entrepreneur said to Chang. “They think you’re part of their inner circle, [and] in San Francisco that means you’re invited to some kind of orgy. I couldn’t escape it here.” So she moved to New York.

In the wake of Ellen Pao’s sexual-discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Susan Fowler’s blog post that led to the exposure of Uber’s toxic workplace culture and James Damore’s memo attacking Google’s diversity efforts, this additional look at Silicon Valley culture further illustrates the tech world’s attitude toward women. And it explains a lot.


Photo from Thinkstock


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  • Famj Jensen

    Yeah this has been going on as long as there has been humans. Not sure what the newtroversy is.

  • Jones

    This article is a complete crock.

    • Jose Martinez

      Didn’t even have to read the headline to know that…

  • Jim Preston

    I assume you have to get major VC funding to join the fun. Us bootstrapped Silicon Valley startup types don’t seem to experience this, or even hear about. Of course we need to spend whatever money we have on useful activities…

    • a reader


  • Shirley LeGitte

    Sex parties with “custom” MDMA…what a crock of BS!

    Pics, or it didn’t happen…

  • J. Coley

    It happened once, so it happens all the time, seems to be the main premise here.

    I am not so sure that anything–even Silicon Valley–is immune to primate biology. If adults want to put themselves in situations where they know that the Get Down will occur, no social media movement will preempt the repercussions of their decisions.

    Adult wants to play, adult must pay. Nothing new here.

  • Albionic American

    This story validates the observation Karl Marx made back in the 1840’s about the power of money:

    I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful of women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the effect of ugliness – its deterrent power – is nullified by money.

  • B.A. Mosby

    I’m sorry but this is so one sided. are you actually saying that females do not enjoy sex or something? this new sexual harrassment scandal is just one more way gold diggers are gathering their means. no longer getting married to get their halves it seems this is the solution. If they were there on their own accord in a hot tub at a party and had sex then how is that harrassment? and is it just as terrible they are only there because dude owms a mansion and is rich?

  • Father Nelson

    Ms. Chang is a liar and this routinely DOES NOT happen. There is no glass ceiling. Just ask Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Indra Nooyi, Andrea Jung, Anne Mulcahy and many others. You get what you NEGOTIATE for compensation, NOT what you perceive you deserve. Men are better negotiators when it comes to compensation.

    Factually speaking, that is not our men’s fault that this occurs, IF it does occur. Do you have a scientific peer reviewed study which can be cited for this data? You get what you negotiate and what you are willing to work hard for to achieve. There is no glass ceiling. If men in similar jobs aren’t paid equally to men they compete with — and they’re not — how is it possible to mandate equal pay between genders? It isn’t. Everyone is paid what he or she is worth, and that compensation is determined by job skills, job requirements, personality, geography, industry, company size, AND negotiating skills. When a company offers a woman a salary, and she accepts it — without negotiating a better deal — she is agreeing to the amount. She can’t later complain that some man out earns her. People often cite, and blindly accept, a mysterious “statistic” indicating that women earn 70 cents for every dollar a man earns.

    Surprisingly, few ask how that figure was derived. It’s meaningless. Moreover, it does not factor in child support and alimony, which women receive in at least 90% of cases. And, let’s not forget the imputed income to women when men pay for their entertainment and travel. All told, according to Allianz, the financial-services behemoth, women control 60% of American wealth. Take a man earning $2M per year and another living under a bridge, earning nothing. Lump them together: each has an average annual salary of $1M. Makes sense on a calculator but not in reality. Men and women, in general, have different jobs. In addition, more women than men are in low-paying, part-time jobs. Yes, there are men and women with equal jobs in the executive ranks. But, rarely do you find women welding steel atop bridges or men changing diapers in daycare centers. So, if you take a group of women, ranging from CEO to secretary, and a group of men, ranging from CEO to Navy SEAL, the arithmetic averages of their wages will not be equal. But, because most men feel guilty for being alive, let alone walking upright, they easily succumb to this glass-ceiling wage-gap crap. If you take maternity leave you are not working ergo why should your salary level remain consistent with those who remained and are advancing? You are making a conscious decision of family over career. Live with your choices and the consequences of your decisions. That’s the real world.

    Unless the data trotted out and called “factual” is peer reviewed legitimate studies following scientifically accepted statistical formulas and processes which can be confirmed and checked by 3rd parties for accuracy, it is no more relevant or real than anecdotal experience.