Magic Leap is probably one of the most secretive technology companies of our generation where public and media have zero grasp on how their mixed reality technology works. While people like Graeme Devine have spoken about the technology, we’ve yet to see their fully functioning HMD.
With this veil of mystery surrounding the company, Magic Leap has been able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from major companies and hire talented individuals in order to fulfill their endeavors. However, things have been slowly unraveling within the company where Tannen Campbell, the former Head of Strategic and Brand Identity at Magic Leap, sued the company for sex discrimination.
The irony with this lawsuit is that Campbell was hired to help create a more female-friendly product, according to her complaint.
The key responsibilities for Campbell was to help Magic Leap with the “pink/blue problem” and make the workplace more diverse and inclusive. But she wasn’t able to fulfill her duties due to roadblocks within the company. In the complaint it states, “Scott Henry, CFO, is the kind of man who sits a little too close to women and makes them feel uncomfortable with his body language, flirting and objectification. He generally treats women as objects of beauty (or not) rather than co-workwers worthy of respect. He is a bully and when he does not get his way, he belittles his adversary.” The document goes on further, shedding light on other executives and portraying them in an unfavorable manner.
The lawsuit additionally reports that it found fault with IT support lead Euen Thompson. On page 15 and 16, it describes Thompson as saying,
“Yeah, women always have trouble with computers.” The women in the group, in apparent disbelief, asked Thompson to repeat what he said and Thompson replied, “In IT we have a saying; stay away from the Three Os: Orientals, Old People and Ovaries.”
To quickly pull the plug on this case, Magic Leap has settled with Campbell and came to an agreement that made sense for both parties. The company filed a notice of settlement on May 8th with written verbiage stating, “plaintiff expects to file a notice of dismissal with prejudice on or before June 2, 2017.”
It’s quite alarming to see Magic Leap make headlines for sex discrimination lawsuits rather than innovation and technology.
Alarming, but sadly not surprising.