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Gay video designer sues Microsoft over ‘homophobic’ taunts

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  1. Robert, ex-pat Brit 24 Mar 2009, 12:55pm

    In America, the home of Microsoft, it has one of the best hiring policies for LGBT people. Bill Gates is a staunch supporter of his gay employees. The ignoramuses taunting Mr. Durrant need to grow up and act their age in addition to sensitivity training in the workplace. How would they like it if gay employees taunted them about how overweight and ugly they are or called them “breeders” just as an example?

  2. By an odd co-incidence, this was one company I was considering applying for having just graduated from a computer modelling course. Having read this, I’m starting to have serious doubts.

  3. This is the one thing I cannot boycott, I love my xbox & as I’ve just started Resi 5 – please can we wait til I’ve finished it. Oh & can the boycott end just before Bioshock 2 comes out. I’m such a geek!

  4. 45 grand for being called “fag boy Jim”? – Jeez, I’m in the wrong bloody job. Some people will try anything to get money. Chances are, he was bloody useless at his job, has a persecution complex the size of a planet and thinks it’s all everybody else’s fault he’s a complete loser. Sorry, zero sympathy. Get a life and stop fucking about with computer games.

  5. RobN – Out of interest, have you ever worked in a homophobic environment? I worked in one once.
    I found some blatant abuses of health and safety which could have resulted in half the workforce getting cancer from the misuse of fibreglass resin. No ventilation, a lack of basic respiration equipment, no goggles and a roof made of asbestos.
    When I brought them to the attention of my senior colleagues, the first thing which appeared on the health and safety noticeboard (after years of dust and neglect) was not a pamphlet explaining the proper use of fibreglass but an alarmist AIDS in the workplace pamphlet, dating back to the 80s. In other words “If you don’t get back in your box we’ll make your working hours a living hell”. I also had work colleagues who openly bragged about how they were planning to go “queer bashing” on the weekend.
    If you think homophobia in the workforce is a laughing matter, just imagine your work colleagues treating you like this on a daily basis, for no other reason than your sexuality. Imagine if your every grievance with the management was treated with the same cavalier fashion. Now imagine you work in a profession where landing your next job isn’t as simple as posting a well crafted CV as it involves relocation and endless begging letters in a vastly oversubscribed industry.
    I get the impression you’ve had it easy or you wouldn’t be so quick to put the boot in.

  6. Well said, flapjack.

    The good thing about harassment by email is that it’s all very traceable, so it should be fairly easy to see whether Durrant has a case.

  7. Ah, but Kate, if you’re working in an environment which specialises in computing technology, isn’t there the possibility they could make those emails “disappear”?

    And RobN, you could very well be right but having had quite a few friends suffer homophobic abuse in their places of work, I would give this guy the benefit of the doubt. If anyone should “grow up” it’s his petty colleagues.

  8. Flapjack: Let’s get things in perspective here: Yes, I have been subjected to taunts and name in my time at work, yes I have found it oppressive and unpleasant. I know not everyone could do as I did, but I basically shot it back at the ringleader, called him a few choice words and threatened to have it out with the directors. I never heard about it again.

    You seem to think that a bit of banter is tantamount to a serious crime. Try being gay and living in say, Jamaica. Harrasment there usually consists of a tyre full of petrol, or a rope and a tree. Gays continually whinge about how bad it is, even though over the last 30 years, we have got virtually everything we wanted, but some sad little queens still have chips on their shoulders and complain. I suspect even if the whole country went gay, they would still find something to moan about.

  9. RobN – I don’t doubt for a minute that things are worse in Jamaica. I equally don’t doubt that some gay men such as yourself find it simple to have it out with the directors. Some people are naturally more confident than others.
    That doesn’t make those less confident than yourself who would have been crushed like a bug in the same situation you found yourself in “sad little queens”. You got lucky, and if it happened within the last 3 years you had employment law to back you up. Some people get both barrels when they walk up to the manager or ringleader and complain about homophobic harrassment. I would have been out on my ear looking for other work if I’d taken my grievance further, and that’s if half the workforce didn’t decide to pay me a social call with a baseball bat.
    Would you suggest to black employees that racist jibes were “just part of the workplace culture… get over yourselves”? would you just tell someone to grow a spine in that scenario?
    Just because there isn’t a baying lynchmob in the streets waiting to string us from the nearest lampost like there would be in Jamaica, so what? We shouldn’t have to put up with any of this crap in the workplace.
    There are employment laws against racist discrimination, laws against sexist discrimination, and finally after a protracted wait we have laws against homophobia.
    Why you still have some misplaced nostalgia for the bad old days when gay people could be swatted like flies with impunity escapes me.

  10. Andrew, luckily enough I sent all the incriminating emails to my home email account and have them all as hardcopy. I was too aware that they could have been ‘lost’.

    RobN, far from being a ‘sad little queen’, I don’t appreciate being sent messages that are tantamount to suggesting that all gays should get aids and die. Particularly from a major organisation. You might like to ignore homophobia like that. I certainly do not and the more people that complain about a culture like that in the office the better.

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