"A dark abyss of sexual horror."

Trigger Warning

The bestselling erotic book "Fifty Shades of Grey" tells the story of a wealthy CEO with the first name Christian who enters into a ripe-for-critique relationship with a younger woman who basically signs up to be his sex slave, complete with a dominance and submission contract.

But a real-life story with uncanny parallels to the book was anything but consensual, a new lawsuit alleges. In fact, it was "a dark abyss of unwanted sexual horror," according to the Mercury News.

The plaintiff, a former employee at San Francisco-based software company Tradeshift, says in her lawsuit against former CEO Christian Lanng — yes, the same first name as the main character in "Fifty Shades" — that he forced her into a nine-page slave contract, according to the news outlet.

The contract's stipulations are eye-poppingly deranged: "Always be sexually available for her master when he needs sex and to never refuse him sex even when not wearing the collar," the Mercury News quotes.

The woman, who was first hired to be Lanng's executive assistant, was also mandated to wear feminine clothes and a collar around her neck, as well as to track her weight, the news outlet reports. She also had to submit to "spanking, caning, slapping, humiliation and electric shock."

The woman says the alleged beatings left her bleeding, in episodes she described as assault and torture, according to the Mercury News. And when she tried to exit the contract, she says Lanng became violent.

Tech Bros

For his part, Lanng is stridently denying the accusations.

"The shocking and vile claims in the lawsuit are categorically false, and I reject allegations that I subjected someone to any form of abuse during my tenure as CEO or at any other time of my life," he said in a statement to the Mercury News. "A highly distorted version of the extremely intimate details of a private consensual sexual relationship is now not only in the public domain but also being used to defame me for personal financial gain."

The woman says she sought help from Tradeshift human resources, but claims she was instead fired in 2020. The Mercury News reports that there's another woman who also says she suffered abuse from Lanng, who was fired from Tradeshit in October for "serious allegations of sexual assault and harassment."

All told, the accusations sound emblematic of the rampant sexual misconduct and misogyny that are prevalent in the tech world, overseen by men who are drunk on low-interest venture capital and fawning, uncritical praise from the press and their stans.

Case in point is Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft who apparently engaged in sexual misconduct and had a close relationship with the infamous Jeffrey Epstein.

Among the younger set of tech bros, the popular philosophy of effective altruism has become cover for sexual abuse and harassment against women.

Maybe the biggest question looming over us all: Are those the people we want building the technologies of the future?

More on tech bros: Tech Bros Lectured Congress About AI "Like Schoolchildren" Who Weren't Allowed to Raise Hands

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