A cybersecurity company whose security researcher had once been harassed by Blizzard employees at a hacking conference charged the game developer a 50 percent “misogyny tax” when it sought a quote for security services, according to a new report from Waypoint.
The researcher, Emily Mitchell, told Waypoint that she approached the Blizzard booth during the annual Black Hat USA cybersecurity conference in 2015 to see if the major video game company had any open positions. Her shirt, which referenced a security process known as “penetration testing,” prompted two unnamed Blizzard employees to ask her questions laced with misogyny and sexual double entendre.
“One of them asked me when was the last time I was personally penetrated, if I liked being penetrated, and how often I got penetrated,” Mitchell said. “I was furious and felt humiliated, so I took the free swag and left.”
Two years later, Blizzard approached cybersecurity firm Sagitta HPC (now known as Terahash) to request a quote on one of Sagitta HPC’s password-cracking boxes. Mitchell, who was Sagitta HPC’s chief operating officer at the time, saw Blizzard’s request and immediately remembered what occured at Black Hat USA 2015. After learning of the incident from Mitchell, Sagitta HPC founder and chief executive officer Jeremi M. Gosney responded to Blizzard’s inquiry with a lengthy message decrying her treatment at the hands of Blizzard’s employees.