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Sexism in Silicon Valley is bad, but it may be even worse in Hollywood

So says Brew Media founder Brooke Hammerling, who says women in PR are finally pushing back.

Courtesy Brew Media

There was a time when tech PR maven Brooke Hammerling felt she had to grin and bear it when someone mistreated her or one of her female co-workers.

“We’re much less tolerant of that now than we were, even ten years ago,” Hammerling recalled on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. “Ten years ago, there were clients and press that would call me ‘baby,’ that would say, ‘Come over here, sit next to me, sweetheart.’ I probably laughed it off even though there was this anger inside of me, or embarrassment.”

“I hope the next generation, the women who have come through my doors, are learning that that’s not acceptable,” she added. “I can come in and be a mean mama bear.”

Hammerling, whose firm Brew Media has represented companies ranging from Oracle to Jawbone to Refinery29, said sexual harassment in tech continues to be a problem — though she noted that she was lucky to have never had a client who behaved that way.

However, she found it was most pronounced at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit earlier this month in San Francisco. (Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the event was in Los Angeles).

“We still ... Certainly with some of the older-school clients that we’ve seen, coming from that Vanity Fair conference, seeing some of the people with the LA mindset ... There was this clear difference and disrespect that I, myself, was encountering,” she said. “Some of the senior Hollywood executives who I encountered, who didn’t know who I was — I’m not going to name names, but I saw some incredibly bad behavior. In 2016.”

“Worse than Silicon Valley?” Kafka asked on the new podcast.

“Oh, yeah,” Hammerling said.

You can listen to Recode Media in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher. Don’t miss this week’s first episode, in which Peter spoke to Defy Media President Keith Richman.

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Peter. Tune in next Thursday for another episode of Recode Media!

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