Real-Life Lawsuit Against Virtual Reality 'Unicorn' Magic Leap Talks About Wizards

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on February 15, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Maybe it's not all that surprising that a lawsuit involving a virtual reality company called Magic Leap, known in in venture capital circles as a "unicorn," would involve some discussion of wizards. But the claims made in the lawsuit are very real.

A unicorn is defined as "a startup company valued at more than $1 billion even though it has yet to bring a product on the market." A wizard is defined as "a man who has magical powers." And ignoring, insulting, and firing female employees, especially those hired to fix your company's gender issues, is a text book case of "hostile environment sex discrimination and retaliation."

Not-So-Magic Workplace

Tannen Campbell, Magic Leap's former Head and Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Brand Identity says she was hired to make the startup and its products more female-friendly, has accused the company of a litany of inappropriate comments and insulting behavior, and claims the Magic Leap fired her for doing her job:

Campbell, one of whose responsibilities was to help Magic Leap with the "pink/blue problem," had to endure hostile environment sex discrimination while proposing ways, not only to make Magic Leap's product more woman friendly, but also to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive. Campbell was terminated after (and because) she, like the child in "The Emperor's New Clothes" who blurted out that the Emperor was naked, challenged Magic Leap's CEO, Rony Abovitz, to acknowledge the depths of misogyny in Magic Leap's culture and take steps to correct an gender imbalance that negatively affects the company's core culture and renders it so dysfunctional it continues to delay the launch of a product that attracted billions of investment dollars.

Campbell says one of her first assignments was to put together a presentation about gender diversity in the workplace, but that meeting was scheduled and cancelled six times. When it finally did occur, she claims, Abovitz arrived late and ended the meeting early. Abovitz also put a team of female employees together -- indelicately named "Female Brain Trust Initiative" (FBI) -- tasked with making Magic Leap's product more woman friendly. But none of their ideas were taken seriously. And a male IT support lead allegedly told new female hires during a training session, "In IT we have a saying; stay away from the Three Os: Orientals, Old People and Ovaries."

World of Wizardry

Campbell's lawsuit even talks about the company's use of wizards, at least in its hiring materials. She claims the Magic Leap website fails to state that it is an equal opportunity employer and would like to see women among the "Wizards" it seeks in its "Wizards Wanted" section: "Indeed, given that a "wizard" generally is defined as 'a man who has magical powers,' and virtually without exception images of wizards are male, Magic Leap's recruiting verbiage contains a not-so-subtle 'women-need-not-apply' message."

You can see Campbell's full lawsuit, along with many other unsavory allegations, below:

Tannen Campbell v. Magic Leap, Inc. by FindLaw on Scribd

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