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.
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.