In March 2014, Julie Ann Horvath quit GitHub, whose diversity program she was closely associated with, describing workplace harassment from unnamed men amongst the GitHub staff, as well as the wife of a cofounder, both of whom she also did not identify.
Github responded to her resignation and press coverage by placing individuals on leave and promising an investigation. On April 21, GitHub announced that "the investigation found no evidence to support the claims...of sexual or gender-based harassment or retaliation, or of a sexist or hostile work environment. However, while there may have been no legal wrongdoing, the investigator did find evidence of mistakes and errors of judgment." As a result, Tom Preston-Werner, President and co-founder of GitHub, tendered his resignation -- doing so in a blog post which denied that either of the Preston-Werners had engaged in gender-based harassment or discrimination, and which threatened legal action against people making any "further false claims".
Horvath panned the investigation and named the people who harassed her and those who were complicit in it—assertions she supported with email messages and instant message screencaps.
After considerable criticism, GitHub posted a second blog entry on April 28 giving a somewhat more detailed account of the investigation—a post with which Horvath said she is satisfied, even though she doesn't agree with the stated outcome of the investigation.
- The Ada Initiative discontinued its partnership with GitHub.
- Various GitHubbers and well-known people in tech expressed their support for Tom Preston-Werner.
- Anonymous "hit pieces" attacking Horvath's credibility cropped up -- one on Medium; one on Secret, which was deleted.
- Julie Ann Horvath Describes Sexism And Intimidation Behind Her GitHub Exit | TechCrunch (March 15) “Horvath has given TechCrunch her version of the events, a story that contains serious allegations towards GitHub, its internal policies, and its culture. The situation has greater import than a single person’s struggle: Horvath’s story is a tale of what many underrepresented groups feel and experience in the tech sector.”
- Prominent GitHub Engineer Julie Ann Horvath Quits, Alleging Gender-Based Harassment | Re/code (March 15) A recap of Horvath’s tweets.
- Update on Julie Horvath’s Departure | Github (March 16) “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.”
- Ellen Chisa: I'm angry because I'm afraid
- Brianna Wu @ The Mary Sue: Why GitHub’s Unconvincing Investigation Harms Women in Games Development
- Mandy Brown: Legalese
- Chad Whitacre, founder of Gittip: Harassment and Openness