FriendFinder’s Latest Scandal Sexier When Compared To a Penthouse Letter

A porn star draping boobs over an employee’s mind. Lapdances in the ongoing business dime. $50 million in straight straight back taxes. These are merely a number of the fees Penthouse publisher FriendFinder Networks is dealing with from an ex-employee.

Natalie Cedeno, the company’s former HR director, says that ongoing company professionals retaliated against her for pointing down violations of work guidelines. She had been an executive that is top the web region of the company, profoundly taking part in its operations for eight years, before FriendFinder fired her without cause in January, she states. She claims the organization then attempted to withhold the 2 many years of pay she ended up being owed under her agreement her attorney characterizes as “extortion. unless she consented to remain silent about FriendFinder’s misdeeds a move” Cedeno intends to register complaints because of the Equal Employment chance Commission and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing the following month.

And a juicy complaint it is supposed to be. FriendFinder Networks was once called Penthouse Media Group before it acquired Inc. this is certainly various operator of Adult FriendFinder along with other online personals web internet web sites, in 2007 for $500 million. The office cultures of Florida-based Penthouse and Silicon Valley-based Various Inc while they’re both porn companies. where Cedeno worked prior to the merger could not have already been more various. That became apparent may 2, 2008, as soon as the ex-Penthouse professionals, now in control of the combined company, made a decision to ship in a passel of Penthouse Pets to your old offices that are various.

Whenever administration announced that the venerable magazine that is porn stable of nude models could be stopping by the workplace to provide frozen dessert, one feminine worker objected, as Cedeno tells the storyline. Once they arrived, one of many scantily clad Pets produced beeline for the dissenter. “They arrived to her workplace and put her breasts on the mind so that they can humiliate her, and additionally they had some body willing to just simply take images,” Cedeno says. The employee stop immediately after the event.

The night before Cedeno had been ended month that is last she states she raised at a gathering of professionals a member of staff that has charged thousands in lapdances into the business a cost the business’s pre-Penthouse management would not have tolerated. “The president laughed and stated the CEO had taken care of lapdances for investment bankers with business cash weekend that is last” Cedeno claims.

But wait an additional: are not we referring to an organization whoever product that is main porn? What exactly are a few workplace hijinks at a company helping to make cash away from nude ladies? Well, there is far more than Cedeno’s pay at risk. FriendFinder filed to get general general public year that is last. It desperately needs the $460 million it hopes to boost in an IPO so that you can lower $420 million with debt. If the business has problems that are legal work dilemmas beyond exactly exactly what it disclosed in its SEC filings, its professionals could face hefty charges, additionally the IPO may likely be scotched.

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FriendFinder Networks CEO Marc Bell would not get back a note kept asking for touch upon Cedeno’s allegations. The SEC limits exactly just what organizations in registration for the IPO can state publicly about their company away from regulatory filings, a necessity referred to as “quiet period.”

In accordance with Cedeno, Various operated Adult FriendFinder along with other X-rated adult websites for seven years without drawing an individual sexual-harassment lawsuit from workers. The organization ended up being because buttoned-down as nearby NASA contractors. Office guidelines limited employees from publishing any pictures on office walls, and even having dirty screensavers. Cedeno claims the organization’s longtime postman had to ask her, after six many years of delivering mail, exactly just what the ongoing business really did. And founder Andrew Conru, who took no investment capital and for that reason owned almost all of this ongoing business, is famously mild-mannered. (The raciest he gets: He once told a mag he’d had a mnage- -trois.)

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Valleywag had formerly heard rumblings of discontent during the business. A Penthouse executive who was COO of the company, reportedly prompted a mutiny among the Sunnyvale employees by trying (and failing) to replace most of the operations team over the summer, Anthony Previte. We additionally heard about a messy shooting when you look at the product product product sales division. But which was simply the end for the iceberg, based on Cedeno.

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Every thing changed after Penthouse bought the ongoing business and changed its title to FriendFinder Networks, she states. Within one month, FriendFinder had its very first work problem, and soon received two more. The business’s previous controller intends to register an age-discrimination lawsuit, Cedeno states.

Cedeno states brand new administration had been unresponsive to her issues. When she revealed violations of overtime legislation, the business’s VP of operations emailed her, “This garbage stops now.” (He implied her complaints, maybe maybe not the violations.) She states she ended up being purchased to lie and blame pay discrepancies in the business’s outside payroll merchant. She declined.

She additionally claims that in January 2008, Rob Brackett, president for the business’s online team, told her that CEO Marc Bell had reported to him in December the very first time he arrived to consult with Penthouse’s brand new purchase that the ladies in FriendFinder’s technology division had been “ugly” and that Cedeno should be rid of them and change all of them with more appealing employees to help keep the male workers delighted. Brackett squeezed Cedeno, asking her exactly how she would definitely satisfy Bell. The request was refused by her.

The organization has admitted in its S-1 filings that it did not gather fees owed on Web bought when you look at the eu for decades. It offers currently charged $64 million resistant to the purchase cost of different. (It now states the purchase as costing the business $401 million, down from $500 million, as a result of this as well as other fees.) However it has not yet disclosed the complete level of the pending taxation bills. Cedeno claims the rear fees in Germany alone arrive at $40 million together with business owes $10 million in another European nation.

FriendFinder appears to have produced enemy that is formidable. Cedeno has hired Amanda Metcalf, a prosecutor that is former in personal training who’s most widely known for her part in case against Death Row Records. We asked Metcalf why she took in Cedeno’s instance. “Woman done incorrect,” she responded. If Cedeno demonstrates her allegations in court, FriendFinder’s professionals will discover a lesson that is hard It is something to benefit from ladies. It is another to make the most of them.