eBay Fined $3 Million in Case Involving Harassment of Bloggers


eBay Agrees to Pay $3m Fine to Settle Harassment Charges Against Bloggers

eBay has reached a settlement to pay a $3m (£2.36m) fine in order to resolve allegations of harassment against bloggers who criticized the company. Court documents revealed that executives at eBay had sent live spiders and cockroaches to Ina and David Steiner, who were targeted for producing a newsletter that the employees disliked.

According to prosecutors, the couple experienced emotional, psychological, and physical distress as a result of the harassment campaign. The US Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts stated that Jim Baugh, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, was responsible for targeting the Steiners due to their newsletter, EcommerceBytes, which displeased the company’s executives.

Baugh, along with six associates, engaged in a campaign to intimidate the Steiners, which included sending live insects, a foetal pig, and a funeral wreath to their home. The court filings also revealed that Baugh and his associates installed a GPS tracking device on the couple’s car and posted ads on Craigslist inviting sexual encounters at their residence.

The employees involved in the harassment were terminated by eBay shortly after the incident. In 2021, Philip Cooke, an employee, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while Baugh received a sentence of nearly five years the following year.

Baugh’s defense lawyers argued that he faced pressure from former eBay CEO Devin Wenig to suppress the Steiners’ coverage of the company. Wenig, who resigned in 2019, has not been charged in connection with the case and denies any knowledge of the harassment campaign.

Acting Massachusetts US Attorney Josh Levy described eBay’s conduct as “absolutely horrific” and “criminal.” He stated that the employees and contractors involved in the campaign subjected the victims to a terrifying ordeal aimed at silencing their reporting and protecting the eBay brand.

You may also like...