A woman who says she experienced more than a decade of bullying at her job claims that male coworkers gagged her and taped her to a chair after she complained about misogyny and racism in the workplace in 2010.
DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, 49, was working as a fisheries officer in Scotland when the alleged incident occurred.
Emails obtained by the BBC show that Fitzpatrick reported the incident to a manager who “promised to have a word” with the men responsible. The manager told Fitzpatrick, “I am sure they meant no harm and that was the boys just being boys,” according to Newsweek.
According to The Independent, one of the men allegedly said about the incident:
This is what you get when you speak out against the boys.
On Wednesday, BBC revealed an image of Fitzpatrick tied to an office chair.
Rhoda Grant, a Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament, told BBC:
She’s been subject to a long period of harassment, horrendous behaviour towards her. In some of my dealings with DeeAnn it’s very clear that there is a culture in that office that people can get away with what they say and what they do. It seems to me that it’s out of control.
The man who reportedly took the photo told BBC that Fitzpatrick’s account is untrue:
These are false allegations. I can’t remember the event you mention, but if it did happen, it would have been office banter. Just a craic. Certainly nothing to do with abuse.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick has not worked at the company since 2016, after the death of her father. The Independent says it is unclear if the men involved ever faced disciplinary action.
Social media users flocked to Twitter to comment on the situation. One person wrote, “How is this even remotely acceptable???”
How is this even remotely acceptable??? #metoo #Scotland #UnitedKingdom #stopbullying #DISRESPECTFUL #timeforchange #dontcallmehoney Woman Says She Was Bound, Gagged and Bullied at Work in Scotland via @NYTimes https://t.co/0vjPIdYhm6
— bewg (@AnotherIndy) May 26, 2018
Another wrote: “How sick is this? Bad enough that it happened. Worse that they actually photographed it. Have we lost our humanity? For real? Permanently? What have we become?”
Outrage was the predominant response:
Men literally tape woman to a chair and gag her to punish her for speaking out. Managers dismiss it as “boys being boys”. Because all boys are raised to tape women to chairs? https://t.co/IIWrFN1DKs
— Rachel Cunliffe (@RMCunliffe) May 23, 2018
This is obscene! I can't believe that this happened in 2010 and no one's been held to account.https://t.co/Nk7KDdmkjT
— Amelia Womack (@Amelia_Womack) May 24, 2018
Absolutely shocking. And why these layers of silence policies around a clear abuse issue in the context of a publicly funded workplace? Brave woman indeed. @NicolaSturgeon U need to prosecute some abusers. https://t.co/xaljlTOcUE
— Dr Naomi Wolf (@naomirwolf) May 24, 2018
Some people called for a criminal investigation:
This is incredible. If this happened it is not a disciplinary matter, it is a criminal assault. BBC News – 'Whistleblower' taped to chair and gagged https://t.co/1bRYoaSHrb
— Mhairi Hunter (@MhairiHunter) May 23, 2018
Exactly my response. Why is everyone, including @NicolaSturgeon, talking about employment tribunals and disciplinary hearings? She should go straight to the police and demand those responsible are charged with assault, at very least. Maybe she has, and they haven't responded?
— joycemcmillan (@joycemcm) May 24, 2018
I was thinking exactly this. There should be a criminal prosecution.
— Brooke Winters (@brookewinters33) May 23, 2018
Victimisation, sexual harassment, false imprisonment, yes criminal assault, abuse of power bang to rights.
— Marcus (@Elmhart) May 23, 2018