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Interview gone wrong.

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Interview gone wrong.

18 May 2017 01:55

I started to write an article on a proper diet for high intensity athletes, but ended up with a much more incredible story. Let me set the stage for you. Being a former lifting enthusiast, I learned the importance of a healthy diet focused on your sport of choice. I would eat a high protein low carb diet for maximum mass gains while lifting. This has made me wonder about additional sports and their focused diets. I could always do a research online, but sometimes it’s best to go to the pros for inside tips. Cue professional cycling.

While interviewing a team chef for a major professional team, I started to ask simple questions like, “How long have you been a chef?” and “Where do you live when you’re not with the team?” The answer to the next question really surprised me: “What’s the best thing about working with the team?” I expected her to say that she got to meet great riders and be a part of the team’s success, but she said “Not much.” I dug a little deeper and found that the team was very insensitive to women and created a sometimes downright hostile work environment.

She described and showed pictures of how they had half-naked pictures of women on the walls and watched porn in her work area. How she endured the stares, sexist comments, and forceful advances of men involved on the team. She was also required to sleep in quarters that were open and available to anyone that wanted to enter at anytime for a snack. I was completely appalled and it sounded like a wild story that I might not have believed if it weren’t for the pain I could clearly see in her eyes as she relived those experiences. What she was describing to me was something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. She was being treated as an object, not a professional, because of her gender.

Many may think that it’s to be expected in a male dominated sport, and to them I ask: should it be expected? We all have the right to go to work and not be harassed for gender, race, sexuality, religion, or any other reason. After all if this is supposed to be a “professional” sport I would think that they would be professionals in all aspects of the day to day operations I would blame the ones in charge for this unsafe, unprofessional, and degrading environment. As an example, one of the team executives used to called the chef “princess”. You might think that’s cute or funny, but this diminutive comes with negative implications of both age and inexperience. This attitude carries down to the rest of the team, proliferating the abuse. They pay the women on the team far less than the men, a mechanic sat down at her table even though there were several other tables available and told her to get up and leave so the team could eat at that table, and a truck driver called all women “stupid and useless.” The list of harassment and mistreatment went on and on.

While researching laws in Germany where this team is based out of, I found that they had no law on the books that dealt with sexual harassment. Instead, I learned about a term called “mobbing.” It is essentially a collective that singles out an individual and makes their work difficult and near impossible to perform so they can be terminated. German law guarantees that “(h)uman dignity is inviolable.” After reading examples of court findings against German companies, I was not surprised to see that everything they had done to the chef was a cited example.

This is very troublesome for the sponsors and their target consumers because their name will be associated with this sexist model for degradation. The team in question is Bora Hansgrohe. They are a manufacturer of home bathroom and kitchen fixtures around the world. I doubt that the company knows what is taking place on a team they have sponsored but, it would be best to investigate, intervene, or pull funding.

I hope that by bringing this pervasive attitude towards gender bias out of the darkness it will affect real change in an anything-but-professional sport where children and families look up to riders as role models. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth to think of the example they are giving to young girls and boys about their individual worth and dignity.

Post Edit: I have found out that the chef has been terminated for undisclosed reasons. The only verbal reason cited was that she complained about the porn and pictures of naked women she was forced to have in her work area. In effort to keep her silent for three years, they threatened her with a huge fine for mentioning anything of what she had to endure.


Thoughts?
Time4AChange
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18 May 2017 09:33

That's very interesting and disheartening, but aren't you now putting this interviewed chef at risk?
User avatar Jagartrott
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18 May 2017 09:49

My first thought was that this is absolutely terrible. My second thought was that your research on laws in Germany was probably pretty terrible, particularly considering that much of this is covered by European law as far as I'm aware. I did my own and it took about 15 seconds to come across this:

The Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (general equal treatment act)

A further 5 seconds found this:

http://www.antidiskriminierungsstelle.de/EN/Home/home_node.html

A federal agency specifically to deal with discrimination.

this covers any kind of discrimination she may have suffered. It also covers harrasment, along with the definition of discrimination found in paragraph 75 section 1 Betriebsverfassungsgesetz.

This is without looking into EU law about workplace discrimination.

With what seems like such a fatal flaw in your post I would ask you to clarify why you think she has no recourse under sexual harrasment and discrimination?
Vincenzo Nibali:
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User avatar King Boonen
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18 May 2017 13:02

Deleted...don't want to be part of this.
Last edited by jmdirt on 19 May 2017 17:09, edited 1 time in total.
jmdirt
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18 May 2017 16:02

The purpose for my article is not to smear, it's to highlight the primary issue of equality in the work place regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I have cited this example and did receive permission from the chef to post it in which ever forum i desire. Her desire is to insight change so that no one else will have to endure what she had to deal with. After all, i'm sure there are much more professional teams out there. So, let's not redirect from the underlying issue here with conjecture about other potential intents of the post.
Time4AChange
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18 May 2017 16:04

Would have also loved to post the picture she has taken as proof, but they would be considered NSFW.
Time4AChange
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Re:

18 May 2017 16:16

King Boonen wrote:My first thought was that this is absolutely terrible. My second thought was that your research on laws in Germany was probably pretty terrible, particularly considering that much of this is covered by European law as far as I'm aware. I did my own and it took about 15 seconds to come across this:

The Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (general equal treatment act)

A further 5 seconds found this:

http://www.antidiskriminierungsstelle.de/EN/Home/home_node.html

A federal agency specifically to deal with discrimination.

this covers any kind of discrimination she may have suffered. It also covers harrasment, along with the definition of discrimination found in paragraph 75 section 1 Betriebsverfassungsgesetz.

This is without looking into EU law about workplace discrimination.

With what seems like such a fatal flaw in your post I would ask you to clarify why you think she has no recourse under sexual harrasment and discrimination?


You are correct that she has recourse, but when asked that same question, she stated that she didn't want to have to face them again. Personally, i would have found a way. But, when you're a victim, you handle things in your own way.
Time4AChange
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Re:

18 May 2017 23:44

Time4AChange wrote:Would have also loved to post the picture she has taken as proof, but they would be considered NSFW.

You can blur or otherwise censor the naughty bits.
User avatar hrotha
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Re: Re:

19 May 2017 00:16

hrotha wrote:
Time4AChange wrote:Would have also loved to post the picture she has taken as proof, but they would be considered NSFW.

You can blur or otherwise censor the naughty bits.


I included the safest photo's but remember it may be considered NSFW:
http://www.ritmocycling.com/forum/the-lounge-316/interview-gone-wrong.-is-it-time-for-a-change-185025
Time4AChange
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Re:

19 May 2017 02:27

Time4AChange wrote:The purpose for my article is not to smear, it's to highlight the primary issue of equality in the work place regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I have cited this example and did receive permission from the chef to post it in which ever forum i desire. Her desire is to insight change so that no one else will have to endure what she had to deal with. After all, i'm sure there are much more professional teams out there. So, let's not redirect from the underlying issue here with conjecture about other potential intents of the post.

Deleted...don't want to be part of this.
Last edited by jmdirt on 19 May 2017 17:10, edited 1 time in total.
jmdirt
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Re: Re:

19 May 2017 02:44

jmdirt wrote:Your motivation is very important. Certainly inequality is an important issue, but if you are so passionate about making change, why would you come to a www forum with these allegations? I'm still smelling carp...maybe more so now.


And it's exactly that attitude that will allow our daughters, wives, and mothers to be treated that way. You are absolutely entitled to your own opinion. But, think about what side of the fence you're standing on. IMO you are very close to defending the behavior. In reference as to why here, You don't make changes in one place, you make them everywhere. Why not here too?
Time4AChange
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19 May 2017 19:16

Thank you all for the questions, It's greatly appreciated that you may be more aware of the issue and speak out against it.
Time4AChange
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19 May 2017 23:53

The only thing I can say about this is - always respect your chef, no matter the gender they are!

Cause they will **** up your food if you're being too rude and are being too disrespectful.
User avatar Tricycle Rider
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Re: Re:

20 Jun 2017 22:26

This is incredibly disheartening. Some things that you said I felt were perhaps her being a little over-sensitive but in general it is absolutely disgusting how she has been treated. I feel horrible for her and hope this is brought into public light (though I know it is unlikely to be)

Having said that, I don't think you need to get accusatory with forum members and push the lines of reality, such as when you wrote above...
But, think about what side of the fence you're standing on. IMO you are very close to defending the behavior.


Once again, I really hope the media catches on to this blatant sexism and publicizes it, though I doubt they will.
User avatar Ruby United
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20 Jun 2017 23:51

We in the United States deal w this and many other important issues dealing with gender. Simple questions are not asked but instead litigated or argued after the fact.
It's a bus or a van..how much privacy can one expect? Are there designated snacking hours and paths for sleeping and non sleeping hours/areas?
Should young male athletes stop acting like young men because someone says so?
If you work on a small boat, or remote oil rig you should play out a few typical scenarios, not act like everything is an unpleasant surprise. Some unforeseen workplace hazard.
Just like gender in bike racing.. equal distance, equal pay. Gender neutral.
A woman should not be objectified period, but expecting a second level sport to have Advanced human resources at their disposal is absurd. One lawsuit and most pro bike teams simply fold..no resources.. that includes professional oversight of the tiny details of daily operation.
Bike racing is not a pro sport at most levels, expecting people to be professional is a tall order...\ pie in the sky.
LeBron James' salary is more than the budget for most cycling squads at the top level. TV revenue? Endorsements? Apparel, appearance fees, ECT?
Your chef story had a weak start..the word chef should be tossed for cook or gopher. Most squads don't have resources for stand alone jobs, most positions are combo jobs, go to a feed zone and see who's handing up bottles, probably a " chef"
Unchained
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21 Jun 2017 02:10

I am a modern day illiterate--i.e. I have no idea how to post pictures on the internet; otherwise I'd include the infamous photo of Peter Sagan grabbing a podium girl's ***.
I've spent some time in eastern Europe and was surprised to see billboard-sized ads for hands-free phones that depicted a driver speaking on the phone while grabbing the passenger's boobs.
From a western perspective, the ad seemed inappropriate, to say the least.
That said, I'm coming from a western perspective, where there is no way in hell an ad like that would be blown up to billboard-sized proportions.
I just wrote the whole thing off as a difference in cultural perspectives.
Maybe the tit-grab thing is no big deal, I said to myself.
But obviously it is. Both you and the chef were/are disturbed by the actions of professional athletes who act like they're in middle school, so maybe it's time to move this story beyond a cycling message board and in to the broader community.
p.s. I have no idea why anyone would pick nits about the distinction between cook/chef in this thread.
User avatar the delgados
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Re: Interview gone wrong.

21 Jun 2017 09:15

Time4AChange wrote:Many may think that it’s to be expected in a male dominated sport, and to them I ask: should it be expected? We all have the right to go to work and not be harassed for gender, race, sexuality, religion, or any other reason.


Digression here but just want to say that one of these is not like the others
User avatar The Hitch
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