In a scandal shaking the tech world, the former CEO of a San Francisco-based fintech firm, Tradeshift, has been hit with grave allegations. Christian Lanng, the company’s ex-leader, is accused of coercing his executive assistant into a so-called ‘slave contract,’ leading to years of sexual abuse and trafficking. The lawsuit, filed by an individual referred to as “Jane Doe,” paints a harrowing picture of exploitation under the guise of business operations.
According to court documents, the unnamed plaintiff alleges that Lanng used his position of power to enforce a degrading “slave contract” several months after she commenced her role at Tradeshift. This contract reportedly designated Lanng as “master” and thrust the plaintiff into what the lawsuit describes as “a dark abyss of unwanted sexual horror.” The disturbing claims include being bound against her will and enduring physical abuse to the point of bleeding.
The situation escalated to a crisis point in May 2020 when the plaintiff claimed she was terminated after bringing her complaints to the attention of the HR department, co-founders, and board members of Tradeshift.
Lanng, who was dismissed from Tradeshift in September for ‘gross misconduct,’ including sexual assault and harassment allegations, has staunchly denied these claims. He acknowledges the existence of the “slave contract” but insists that he and the plaintiff were in a consensual relationship before her employment at Tradeshift. Lanng refers to the hiring decision as a “grave error of judgment” and dismisses the lawsuit’s claims as “categorically false.”
However, the plaintiff’s legal team, Bryan Freedman and Miles Cooley, challenge Lanng’s narrative, questioning the possibility of consent in a dynamic skewed by power imbalance. They express their commitment to revealing the full extent of the facts through the litigation process.
The lawsuit, which also implicates Tradeshift, alleges that Lanng’s behavior was tacitly approved by the company’s other founders and board members. It describes the workplace environment at Tradeshift as toxic and hostile, further alleging that the plaintiff was also subjected to abuse by former board members Morten Lund and Morten Sondergaard, who have yet to respond to these allegations.
In a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Tradeshift has denied the allegations as they pertain to the company. Lanng maintains his stance, asserting his commitment to a workplace free of sexual harassment during his tenure at Tradeshift.
This case has sent shockwaves across the tech industry, highlighting the urgent need for more stringent measures to protect employees from abuse and exploitation in the workplace. As the lawsuit progresses, it underscores the importance of corporate accountability and the need for a culture change in the tech world.