#PyCon attendee fired from job for being overheard making ‘dongle’ jokes

Without comment:

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What I will share with you here is the backstory that led to this –

The guy behind me to the far left was saying he didn’t find much value from the logging session that day. I agreed with him so I turned around and said so.  He then went onto say that an earlier session he’d been to where the speaker was talking about images and visualization with Python was really good, even if it seemed to him the speaker wasn’t really an expert on images. He said he would be interested in forking the repo and continuing development.

That would have been fine until the guy next to him…

began making sexual forking jokes

I was going to let it go. It had been a long week. A long month. I’d been on the road since mid February attending and speaking at conferences.  PyCon was my 5th and final conference before heading home.

I know it’s important to pick my battles.

I know I don’t have to be a hero in every situation.

Sometimes I just want to go to a conference and be a geek.


like Popeye, I couldn’t “stands it no more” because of what happened –

Jesse Noller was up on stage thanking the sponsors. The guys behind me (one off to the right) said, “You can thank me, you can thank me”. That told me they were a sponsoring company of Pycon and from the photos I took, his badge had an add-on that said, “Sponsor”.

My company was a Gold sponsor as well.

They started talking about “big” dongles. I could feel my face getting flustered.

Was this really happening?
How many times do I have to deal with this?
Can they not hear what Jesse is saying?

The stuff about the dongles wasn’t even logical and as a self professed nerd, that bothered me. Dongles are intended to be small and unobtrusive. They’re intended for network connectivity and to service as physical licence keys for software. I’d consulted in the past with an automotive shop that needed data recovery and technical support. I know what PCMCIA dongles look like.

I was telling myself if they made one more sexual joke, I’d say something.

The it happened….The trigger.

Jesse was on the main stage with thousands of people sitting in the audience. He was talking about helping the next generation learn to program and how happy PyCon was with the Young Coders workshop (which I volunteered at). He was mentioning that the PyLadies auction had raised $10,000 in a single night and the funds would be used the funds for their initiatives.

I saw a photo on main stage of a little girl who had been in the Young Coders workshop.

I realized I had to do something or she would never have the chance to learn and love programming because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so.


6 Replies to “#PyCon attendee fired from job for being overheard making ‘dongle’ jokes”

  1. “I realized I had to do something or she would never have the chance to learn and love programming because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so.”

    As someone who is employed in the STEM field, presents female and is sick to death of microagressions, thanks for standing up.

    1. I don’t stand up (?) on matters of gender. The genders are perfectly capable of looking after themselves and fighting their own battles, as indeed I have my own battles to fight.

      1. Well, that’s not been my experience at all. Personally speaking, it would be nice to know that there are still people left to stand up to such matters. I don’t expect anyone to do that but the world would be a better place. We all have our dreams I suppose.

  2. I really hate women like Adria who make it so difficult for women who work in technology to be treated like everyone else. yes, it’s a crude field (though men who work in fields that are traditionally female have to deal with similar insensitivity), but I’m not some delicate shrinking violet who has to be protected. Just let me do my job and I really don’t give a shit about the rest of it. Adria’s ego-centric rant is typical of women whose only method of distinguishing themselves in the tech field is to call out the difference in their gender. It’s pathetic.

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