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March 23, 2013

Techie fired after tweeting about men's comments

(Continued)

SAN JOSE, Calif. —

"PlayHaven had an employee who was identified as making inappropriate comments at PyCon, and as a company that is dedicated to gender equality and values honorable behavior, we conducted a thorough investigation. The result of this investigation led to the unfortunate outcome of having to let this employee go," PlayHaven CEO Andy Yang said in a blog posting.

The company did not release the name of the fired employee but said a second man in the photo "is still with the company and a valued employee."

"We believe in the importance of discussing sensitive topics such as gender and conduct, and we hope to move forward with a civil dialogue based on the facts," Yang said.

Gender gaps are the hot topic in Silicon Valley, in large part because of the bestselling book "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook Inc. Sandberg has launched a "Lean In" movement to encourage and support women in the workplace.

On Friday, thousands of tweets, blogs and online comments swirled about the incident, some supporting Richards and the "call-out cultures," others belittling her or asking what she might have done differently.

Telle Whitney, who heads the Anita Borg Institute, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit working to advance women in computer science and engineering roles, said Friday "that racist or sexist comments have no place in today's work environment and are counterproductive to fostering a diverse, productive and innovative workforce."

"Events such as these make it more difficult for our industry to attract, recruit and retain women in technology, which is extremely important given the growing global demand for technology workers," she said.

Richards, reached Friday by The Associated Press, said she couldn't comment. But she confirmed her blog and tweets, along with the report that she was fired.

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