Two former high-ranking managers of eBay’s security department have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms. They had massively harassed the editors of a critical newsletter and tried to intimidate them with various methods. In the verdict, US District Judge Patti Saris spoke of a “hard to imagine” process that was fueled by a “toxic culture” at the Silicon Valley e-commerce company.
“It was extreme and outrageous,” said Saris. And even an apology to those affected was no longer enough to avoid imprisonment, according to a news agency report Reuters emerges. The victims were David and Ina Steiner, a Massachusetts couple who publish the EcommerceBytes newsletter. In this, the e-commerce industry is accompanied journalistically. There was often enough reason for critical reporting. Most companies deal with it professionally. But not those responsible at eBay at the time.
Further proceedings underway
They not only tried to put pressure on the critics with the usual methods but resorted to criminal means. Among the items sent to the newsletter editors were cockroaches, a funeral wreath, and a bloody Halloween pig mask.
While this would still qualify as distasteful harassment, the delivery of a book on how to cope with the loss of a spouse was seen in court as a clear threat. Former eBay executives Jim Baugh and David Harville were sentenced to 57 and 24 months in prison, respectively.
Furthermore, both have to pay fines in the five-digit range. In that case, lawsuits are still pending against the company itself and other managers, in which the decisions are still pending. After the judgment that has now been passed, more will soon follow.
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