‘Sexual Playthings': An Insider's View of an Oil Company's Toxic MeToo Culture

Soon after Robin Olsen left her job in the Denver office of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., she drafted a letter with her lawyer's help."Anadarko has a culture of treating women as sexual playthings who are present at work merely for men's sexual gratification," it said.Olsen's 2017 letter to Anadarko went on to describe a toxic culture in the satellite office, where 550 of the Texas company's 4,700 employees work, and where she said sexual harassment wasn't punished and women who complained about it were.Anadarko, which agreed last week to be sold to Chevron Corp. for $33 billion, vigorously disputes Olsen's characterizations of the company.Even as the #MeToo movement -- and the backlash against it -- rolls through the corridors of power, the energy industry has largely escaped the scandals that have ensnared scores of prominent men in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington and beyond.Interviews with six former employees of Anadarko's Denver office paint a detailed picture of a place where life can be particularly difficult for women. The ex-employees spoke on condition of anonymity because they still have dealings with Anadarko or aren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter.Allegations include loutish behavior, such as the supervisor who joked that women seeking to advance their careers should be prepared to provide oral sex.They include talk about stunted careers, how the women became stuck in their jobs while the men they complained about moved up the corporate ladder. About how men were promoted while women with comparable experience weren't -- such as the company announcing that the three male graduates of a leadership-training seminar would get better jobs than the three females in the same class.  Continue reading...

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