Emily Chang and her book Brotopia

Sex and drugs revealed in Silicon Valley

A tell-all book by Bloomberg technology journalist and TV anchor Emily Chang is about to lift the lid on sex and drugs parties hosted by powerful figures in Silicon Valley. Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley is not due for release until next month. But it’s a popular talking point in tech circles here in the US where I am travelling. It takes concerns about how women are an underclass in Silicon Valley’s technology industry to new depths.

Brotopia isn’t published until February 6, so we wouldn’t normally know an awful lot about it except for descriptions on pre-order sites.

But Vanity Fair has published an adapted extract by the author herself.

“About once a month, on a Friday or Saturday night, the Silicon Valley Technorati gather for a drug-heavy, sex-heavy party,” Chang writes in The Vanity Fair piece.

She says the men are typically powerful first-round investors, well-known entrepreneurs, and top executives. Some are the titans of the Valley, household names.

But the female guests have different qualities. They are attractive, willing, and usually young. Some work in tech in San Francisco, and some are employed in real estate, personal training, and public relations.

She says that at these parties, the ratio of women to wealthy men is roughly two to one, but a male investor tells the ex CNN reporter that a lot of men sleep with a dozen women at a time.

But an investor argues is there any crime committed if each of the dozen women doesn’t care?

Chang says some parties are devoted entirely to sex and maybe drug and alcohol free, others are very heavy on drugs which include some form of Ecstasy or Molly. These are known to transform relative strangers into extremely affectionate friends. Some refer to these parties as “E-parties”, she says.

The book recounts many cases of people partaking in these activities. Guests may disappear into a room or they may “get down” in the open, Chang says in Vanity Fair.

Chang recounts how one geek who at 20 hadn’t a girlfriend became cashed up and was living his wildest dreams. She says the men involved didn’t necessarily see themselves as predatory.

She says in Vanity Fair that the vast majority of people in Silicon Valley have no clue these sex parties are happening. Women spread the word among their female friends, and the expectations are hardly hidden, she says.

But for women the drug-and-sex-party scene is a minefield to navigate. It’s a tough life for many women in tech.

NBC News in the US this week reported that half the women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)  industries had suffered gender discrimination at work.

It says a study by the Pew Research Centre of 4900 US workers found only 19 per cent of men claimed they had experienced gender discrimination at work, compared to 50 per cent of women.

The survey was released a day after sacked Google engineer James Damore announced he was suing the company after it sacked him for publishing a 10-page memo that claimed Google had gone too far in promoting diversity and that men with conservative views were being victimised.

Penguin Random House is publishing Chang’s book which will be available as a hardcover and eBook.

Published in The Australian newspaper.

Posted in News.

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