How serious are spider bites in Massachusetts

Ex-Ebay employee in court for harassing journalists

Six high-ranking ex-Ebay employees, including the company's former security director, are currently on trial in the US state of Massachusetts. They allegedly threatened and intimidated two journalists who publish an e-commerce newsletter. The defendants now face a prison sentence of up to five years.

Victims have been critical of the marketplace

As The Verge writes, former Ebay employees James Baugh, David Harville, Stephanie Popp, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Stockwell and Veronica Zea allegedly molested a couple who had expressed themselves critical of Ebay in their newsletter. According to the affidavit, the team is said to have tried to suppress the negative reporting in the newsletter and the insults from an anonymous commenter.

To this end, the defendants developed a plan in mid-2019 to intimidate the editor of the newsletter and her husband. They set up anonymous Twitter accounts to send insults and threats to the Massachusetts couple. They later mailed a pig mask, a box of cockroaches, fly larvae and live spiders, as well as pornography, a book about “surviving the loss of a spouse” and a funeral wreath. They are also said to have monitored the blogger couple in front of their home in Massachusetts.

Ebay distances itself from the events

Ebay distances itself from the behavior of the former employees. In a statement, the marketplace explains that it was informed by the law enforcement authorities of the suspicious actions of its employees in August 2019. The marketplace immediately initiated a comprehensive investigation and, as a result, dismissed all employees involved, including the company's former chief communications officer, in September 2019.

"Ebay took these allegations very seriously from the start," said the independent special committee set up by the Ebay board of directors to oversee the company's investigation into the matter. “Ebay does not tolerate this type of behavior. Ebay apologizes to the people concerned and regrets that they were exposed to this behavior. Ebay keeps its employees up to high standards of behavior and ethics and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure that these standards are adhered to, ”the statement reads on.

Ebay Germany boss Eben Sermon has now also commented on the incidents. The events have "deeply shaken him personally and Ebay as a company", as it says in a post on LinkedIn. He stressed in the letter that it was an isolated incident "and not a systemic problem". The feedback from the partners is immensely important to Ebay in order to continue to find out where the marketplace can improve, says the 45-year-old. “At the same time, I would like to say to all of our European sellers, our industrial partners and all members of the eBay community who work with my teams on a daily basis that the drive and culture of the company are what they have always been: shaped by our spirit of partnership. We will continue to listen to you, learn from what you tell us and use this to further improve the eBay marketplace for you. "