Risk & Compliance

Former Pinterest COO Alleges Gender Discrimination

Françoise Brougher said she was fired for speaking out against ‘rampant’ misogyny that permeates the company.
Lauren MuskettAugust 12, 2020

The former chief operating officer of Pinterest, Françoise Brougher, is suing the company for gender discrimination and wrongful termination, alleging she was hired on unequal compensation terms, subjected to a hostile work environment, and fired by chief executive officer Ben Silbermann when she spoke out.

In a lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court, Brougher said she was told executives received backloaded equity grants, but she learned in an S-1 filing after the company’s initial public offering that the equity grants of her male peers were not backloaded. She said after the IPO, she was no longer invited to board meetings and that chief financial officer Todd Morgenfeld was “increasingly disrespectful” beginning in January of this year.

“Although 70 percent of Pinterest’s users are women, the company is steered by men with little input from female executives. Pinterest’s female executives, even at the highest levels, are marginalized, excluded, and silenced,” Brougher said in post on Medium. “I believe that I was fired for speaking out about the rampant discrimination, hostile work environment, and misogyny that permeates Pinterest.”

A Better Way to Do Ecommerce

A Better Way to Do Ecommerce

Learn how Precision Medical leveraged OneWorld to cut the cost of billing in half and added $2.5M in annual revenue.

Brougher’s lawsuit comes as two African American former employees claimed they experienced discrimination and retaliation at the company. Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, who worked on the public policy team at Pinterest, said their attempts to win fair compensation were rejected and they were subjected to gaslighting when they raised concerns.

“I was asked to speak everywhere from Geneva to Singapore on behalf of the company, and I was doing all of that sort of like living a double life while I was dealing with all of the retaliation and intimidation internally,” Ozoma said at the time.

In a statement to the New York Times in response to Brougher’s allegations, a spokesperson for Pinterest said the company was conducting an independent review of its culture.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images