A Black woman and a woman of South Asian descent are suing one of the Internet’s most popular foodie websites, alleging the company paid them less than white employees and tolerated casual racism and other abuse in the workplace.
The Washington Post identified the women as Rachel Gurjar, who emigrated from Mumbai and Sahara Henry-Bohoskey in reporting on their lawsuit against FeedFeed, which features articles, recipes and social content around food and bills itself as “a network connecting people who love to cook.”
Both women came to FeedFeed with backgrounds in food and media, which would have made them a unique match for a media company about food. But they now say those qualifications were overlooked inside a company that was hostile and culturally insensitive.
From the Washington Post
In their lawsuit and in interviews with The Post, Gurjar, 33, and Henry-Bohoskey, 30, a Black woman raised in Japan, paint a picture of Feedfeed as a place that tolerated casual racism and sexism. In their complaint, they allege they were tasked with menial labor and were used to promote Feedfeed’s diversity while being treated as “second-class employees.” They also allege they were encouraged not to take lunch breaks and were regularly required to work evenings and weekends, often receiving no overtime.
FeedFeed’s founders, Dan and Julie Resnick denied all the allegations, providing the post with 16 pages of answers to questions about the company’s culture along with supporting documents they said they’ll also use in court.
The lawsuit also names Jake Cohen, the site’s editorial and test kitchen director, and described some of his alleged antics around the office:
Cohen, the plaintiffs allege in their suit, at one point discouraged Gurjar from having a child, implying work comes first. (Cohen denied he said this; he said he was talking about how he didn’t want to have children.)
When Cohen cooked meals for himself, the lawsuit alleges, he would leave dishes for Gurjar or others to clean “as though they were his personal maids.” He would allegedly mock Gurjar’s pronunciation or grammar, even though English is her second language. (Former employees said they witnessed these behaviors.) At the start of the pandemic, he allegedly said to several staffers, “Oh my god, I am so scared I am going to get the coronavirus because I have so many crazy rich Asians living in my building who keep getting packages from Korea and China!”
Sheesh. No word on when the case might move forward, but we’ll keep you updated.