Github suspends co-founder over charges of sexism and intimidation

Github has put one of its founders and another engineer on leave pending a review of charges of sexism and intimidation outlined on Twitter (s twtr) over the weekend by a former employee. The suspensions of the two people — neither of whom were identified by Github — was announced on a blog post by Github CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath.

Julie Horvath, Designer, GitHubThe trouble bubbled up in public Friday when Github engineer Julie Ann Horvath (pictured above), posted about her plans to leave the company and in a series of tweets referenced — without a lot of detail — issues she’d experienced that led to her decision. Github is the well-funded company behind the code repository and code sharing site favored by millions of developers.

Horvath subsequently shared a more detailed account with TechCrunch. Among the issues she cited was that the wife of the aforementioned co-founder — reported by Valleywag and others as Tom Preston-Werner — threatened her not to write or say anything derogatory about Github.

In his post, Wanstrath wrote:

“We know we have to take action and have begun a full investigation. While that’s ongoing, and effective immediately, the relevant founder has been put on leave, as has the referenced GitHub engineer. The founder’s wife discussed in the media reports has never had hiring or firing power at GitHub and will no longer be permitted in the office.”

He also apologized and thanked Horvath for her contributions to the company.

Github was co-founded in 2008 by Wanstrath, Preston-Werner and PJ Hyett.  Preston-Werner stepped back as CEO in January, handing the reins over to Wanstrath.

Asked for comment, a Github spokeswoman referred me back to the Wanstrath blog. I’ve reached out to Horvath for comment and will update as needed.

This fracas is just the latest in a series of episodes showing tech as an inhospitable venue for women. Last year, Sendgrid programmer Adria Richards complained that two attendees at the PyCon Conference made offensive sexist remarks. One of those people lost his job as a result. Some time later, Richards lost her job too.

Horvath appeared at Gigaom Roadmap last year:

[protected-iframe id=”ea549e9a743fb7d164922b7a94e8b8d0-14960843-33105277″ info=”″ width=”640″ height=”360″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”]