Alarming allegations are being made against Moog Music by a former employee, who is suing her former employer for “intentional discriminatory acts and practices”, seeking $1.1 million in damages.
Misogyny at Moog?
The allegations come from Hannah Green, a former Moog employee. According to The Asheville Blade, a local news site based in the same town as the Moog synthesizer factory, Ms Green joined the company in 2018 in what she hoped would be a “wonderful career at a progressive company,” but instead “she faced extensive misogyny, discrimination and even physical assault”.
The allegations describe working conditions that will, sadly, seem all too familiar to women employed elsewhere in the technology sector. The article states that Hannah had to deal with sexist jokes and a “boys’ club” attitude where she was passed over for jobs she was qualified for, had work taken away her and given to male colleagues who also took credit for her work. Green is quoted as follows: “One of my last weeks there the guy that assaulted me and carried a knife, made a joke about killing a woman in a sales team meeting.” Management took no action, she claims, when she reported it.
Another damaging accusation is that Moog was unable to deal with a toxic situation. According to the article, the misogyny Hannah Green faced in the Moog workplace went unchecked.
We reached out to Moog for comment. Here’s an excerpt from the company’s reply:
This statement concerns unsubstantiated allegations made within an online article that recently appeared in the Asheville Blade. The article details supposed incidents of an ex-Moog Music employee who filed a lawsuit against Moog Music claiming discrimination and retaliation. Moog categorically denies these claims, which are false. The author of the Asheville Blade article did not contact Moog Music or give us an opportunity to comment, respond to, or refute any of these false allegations.
Moog is generally considered to one of the good guys, an employee-owned company that projects a very ‘right-on’ image supporting women as employees, performers and synthesizer enthusiasts. The company says that the Equal Opportunities Employment Commission (EEOC) investigated and dismissed the claim and that their own internal investigation found nothing, saying:
We recognize that discrimination and abuse is too common of an occurrence at workplaces around the world and we stand as allies with those who have experienced these inexcusable behaviors. We trust that people who know our organization, have been to our facilities, and have interacted with our employees, know that they are loving and respectful people. Our executive leadership (50% female/average female tenure ~9 years) will continue to focus on providing a safe and nurturing environment for our employees and will have nothing further to say on this matter until the litigation is finalized.”
So, who do we believe? Maybe Hannah is just a disgruntled ex-employee who wants to get back at them. Or maybe Moog is really good at pulling the wool over our eyes and there’s a genuine problem that needs to be tackled. We don’t yet know. If we don’t talk about it until the matter is resolved, this gives an accused company every opportunity to sweep it under the carpet. We also don’t want to dismiss allegations just because a company refutes them.
But sometimes it feels like sexism and misogyny are rife in music technology, whether it’s a Fender Instagram post, rants from the owner of Synthrotek, or a recent distortion plug-in featuring animated breasts. However, most of it is not quite as public and we need to listen to the stories of women in the industry. And things can change, we’ve seen it in the recent name changes to two leading music tech forums.
Should we be ditching our Moog gear? That’s up to you – there’s nothing to be gained in owning equipment that makes you feel bad. However, I think we should talk about these issues, shine a light on them, invite dialogue and hold people of influence to account. We need to check our own misogyny, our own workplaces and actively work to remove toxic behaviour from our industry. And even if Moog ends up behind found completely innocent of any wrongdoing, it’s still an important conversation to have.
In the Ashville Blade article, Hannah says her intention in bringing this civil suit is to prevent Moog from ever treating anyone like this again. Whether she wins or loses I hope Moog’s response will be revolutionary.