Marlene Jaeckel is a face and a story that the seemingly ubiquitous diversity chiefs in Silicon Valley should love to get behind. As a senior software engineer, she co-founded a software engineering consultancy agency in Atlanta called Polyglot Programming. The title of her consulting firm hints at she and her business partner’s skills, as they are adept at coding and providing software in the industry’s various platforms, akin to somebody who knows many languages.
Jaeckel defies the idea that women could not succeed in the tech industry due to an invisible ceiling. Or, in the eyes of many diversity chiefs, she had more likely just worked twice as hard as her male counterparts to establish her very respectable foothold. Either way you look at it, Marlene Jaeckel earned her spot in tech and was thriving, having co-founded her own business and looking to ascend her ambitions further.
That’s when her career momentum, and her life story, slammed head-on into the immovable object that is political correctness, feminist thought, and modern ‘diversity’. She tells her completely believable rendition of being publicly shamed, blackballed, and ostracized because she wanted to teach what she knew to those who wanted to learn. And not women only, she wanted all parties, regardless of their genitalia, to be privy to her knowledge.
As somebody who had been previously active in the mentoring, conference, and tech meetup circuits in Atlanta and elsewhere, Jaeckel’s name became fairly well-known. It was only natural that in 2016 Polyglot joined the Atlanta chapter of the international Google Developer Group, which ‘organizes meetings, speakers, and events for developers who are interested in Google’s products and frameworks.’ Aside from the opportunity to further their mentoring and volunteering, Polyglot’s tendency to create software for Google-based platforms meant that membership in the GDG would further their relationship with the company, a valuable asset in marketing and promotion of Polyglot’s products.
It seemed like a no-brainer, and Jaeckel was excited about the prospects of the strengthened ties with Google.
Seven months after joining the GDG, in July 2016, Jaeckel met Alicia Carr, director of Atlanta’s chapter of an organization called Women Who Code. Women Who Code ‘is a global nonprofit organization with over 100,000 members’ whose mission is “to inspire women to excel in technology careers,” including “a world where women are proportionally represented” in technical and leadership positions. It’s red-flag type jargon to anybody who understands how feminists and die-hard neo-diversity warriors talk, but what the hell, Marlene Jaeckel was precisely what Women Who Code professed to be all about.
Jaeckel met Carr because Women Who Code was holding their ‘hackathon’, at which Carr had invited Jaeckel to volunteer as a mentor to junior developers. It was a generous gesture by Jaeckel, but she was happy to do it. Until, in her words…
‘Unfortunately, during the Women Who Code hackathon, it became clear to me that this event focused on marketing strategies, creativity, and the discussion of gender politics, and not on the development of technical skills. At the group presentations and award ceremony, I observed that my group of mentees were being discouraged from discussing any of the technical details of the fully-functional application they had developed in less than two days…’ (Medium)
In Jaeckel’s eyes, instead of preparing these junior developers to be better equipped to actually thrive in the workforce, the event was concerned with equipping them to complain about why they could not or would not thrive, despite Jaeckel’s existence being living proof of this grievance being a fallacy.
So, Jaeckel took to Twitter to voice her frustration. Despite this, Alicia Carr would again reach out to Jaeckel a month later, proposing that she tutor a class of female coding students who were interested in learning iOS development. Jaeckel’s only stipulation was that she would prefer males be included as well. Again, she’s not the type to dole out her expertise based on one’s birth parts.
Carr refused, so Jaeckel declined. That was that, one would think. But one who thinks this way is not truly familiar with the scorn of somebody who insists on keeping males out of any seminar covering anything besides middle school sex-ed.
‘In September 2016, I again crossed paths with Alicia at a monthly meeting of the Atlanta iOS Developers group. She was extremely irate over my Twitter comment and my refusal to teach women-only classes. She became loud and disruptive during the meeting and the event’s organizer had to intervene repeatedly.’
Sounds like a nice lady, this Alicia Carr. Very well-balanced, very reasonable, huh?
No, but Marlene Jaeckel is. Despite facing a barrage of verbal hail from a woman she had done nothing but help, Jaeckel continued to prepare a ConnectTech panel that Carr had previously invited her to, having never formally rescinded the invitation. Bygones as bygones, Jaeckel ‘spent weeks preparing’ to give an Apple-centric presentation on iOS.
‘Alicia was, however, completely unprepared to moderate and many of the attendees were visibly disappointed. Shortly after the session, Alicia posted disparaging remarks about me on Twitter, implying that she had to “carry the iOS side” and that I failed to contribute anything to the panel discussion.’
Put off by the whole scenario, Jaeckel either withdrew from the female-Atlanta tech scene to focus on her business or was temporarily frozen out. Either way, she says she remained out of touch with the general scene until January 2017, when she was back into the volunteering mood. The female tech industry, certainly prompted by Carr, had other plans for her goodwill.
‘I decided to volunteer as a mentor for a RailsGirls and RailsBridge workshop. Within hours of signing up, both organizations banned me from their groups and events. They even enlisted the help of two young white male developers to replace me as a mentor.’
Ah, the irony of replacing an established female mentor who regularly volunteers her time with two white males based on…her request that males be included in her workshops. It’s so bitter, yet so sweet. It’s so feminist.
Of course, Jaeckel received no explanation for why she was banned, but she knew why, and so do we. She later learned that her calls for gender equality – organizers were friends with Carr – had been included along with her other ‘conservative political views’, a combination worthy of blackballing.
Thus ends the saga of Marlene Jaeckel and Alicia Carr, and opens that of Marlene Jaeckel and Maggie Kane, who in July 2017 became organizer of ‘Google Women Techmakers, a subgroup of the GDG which seeks to provide visibility, community, and resources for women in technology.’ The women were friendly enough, and once again Jaeckel volunteered her time to assist a greater cause.
‘I agreed to assist her and the Atlanta GDG with organizing a DevFest in November 2017. I searched for a venue, identified possible dates for the event, and contacted potential speakers.’
Then, in August 2017 the James Damore scandal rocked the tech world, even leaking into the mainstream media and printed press. It was a big deal. A man fired for espousing factual views about gender differences in the tech world, and speaking honestly to his employer – Google – only to be met with a termination letter. The world was now aware of the tyranny of ‘diversity’, specifically gender diversity, that has run rampant across Silicon Valley and much of corporate America. But especially Silicon Valley, where dudes rule the day, most often because women simply aren’t interested.
Jaeckel happened to be a friend of James Damore. She supported him publicly on social media, and eventually the entire female-centric Atlanta tech scene, including Maggie Kane became aware that – gasp! – Marlene Jaeckel was friends with James Damore?! And she was continuing to support this sexist pig, who she continued to call a friend?!
Maggie eventually contacted Marlene to tell her that Alicia Carr and Women Who Code was boycotting Google’s GDG events because Jaeckel and Polyglot were associated with it. But she went a step further.
‘Then she added that Alicia had accused me of harassing and doxxing Women Who Code members by contacting their employers to get them fired.’
A blatantly false lie, but to Alicia Carr, nothing more than a means to a noble end. A conservative who supported James Damore had to be taken down and out by any means. It’s the humane thing to do, for society’s sake.
But instead of asking Jaekel about the veracity of Carr’s complaints, Kane had taken them at face value. Why wouldn’t she? After all, she already knew that Jaeckel had supported Damore in his criticism of unfair termination by Google. Kane works for Google. This is how it goes.
You speak up, you get chopped down. So people keep their heads down. In some places, they call this tall poppy syndrome, and Jaeckel lacked the genetic mutation. Kane had taken action, as she was kind enough to let Jaeckel know.
‘Maggie informed me that she had forwarded Alicia’s statements to Google and that she had also filed a written complaint with Google because I had “violated the codes of conduct”. She even felt that it might be best if I stopped attending any GDG and Google Women Techmakers events, because members might be “triggered” by my presence.’
Triggered. Kane actually used the word triggered. For all their cutting edge tech, Silicon Valley feminist generals sure do lack a sense of self-awareness and irony.
Kane told Jaeckel that, despite having lodged what is considered a very serious complaint with Google, Jaeckel was not banned from Google’s events per se. So, Jaeckel decided to attend the Atlanta Google Women Techmakers’ “Idea Jam Session,” in September 2017. She was allowed to attend. Or so she thought.
‘Upon arriving at the event, Maggie immediately asked me to leave the room. At the door, she informed me that she would be extremely uncomfortable if I remained a member of the community because some of the views that I had expressed on Twitter are “very harmful to gender equality”. She then asked Daniel Sabeo, the event coordinator at TechSquare Labs, to escort me from the facility. I was deeply upset at being publicly humiliated, but left willingly without causing any disruption.’
Again, a man was being enlisted to remove – as opposed to previously, when they replaced – Jaeckel as part of an event for women in tech. Essentially, because she had a) expressed the desire to teach tech, not grievance b) insisted on doing so to all interested parties and c) defended her friend.
But that was not the end. You don’t want to mess with these people, especially if you’re in the industry. Remain a shriveling, silent, short little poppy, or face the wrath.
Jaeckel and her company had been banned from the facility after Daniel – the guy who removed her – had contacted the owners of the building and misrepresented the incident. Now, Marlene Jaeckel apparently posed a “threat to their members”.
‘I later learned from a fellow developer that Maggie had, in fact, told various people that I’d been stalking her. She also recruited a young white male developer, David Hope, to replace my partner Lance as GDG organizer and invited David to act as her co-organizer for Google Women Techmakers.’
Daniel had been rewarded for his act of scumbaggery. Daniel, a man. At a Google Women’s Techmakers event. A week later, Jaeckel was formally banned from the Google events she had previously helped organize. She considers herself to have been made a pariah, with her business doomed to certain failure.
But no, really, these people actually care about getting more women into coding. It’s not a grievance industry run by bullies on a never-ending quest to reward complaint and force conformity, they swear it.
The tall poppy that she is, Jaeckel was not going to take the beating without a fight. She hired a renowned lawyer, sent a cease and desist letter to stop the defamation, and demanded her memberships be restored.
They ignored her. Not only that, Maggie Kane continued to speak ill of Jaeckel, having her banned from other local facilities under the initial false pretenses that she was some unstable political dissident. Now, Jaeckel has filed a lawsuit for defamation of character and tortious interference with business.
We wish her the best in her litigation, as she is the female James Damore, whether she has made the connection or not. Which makes it even more ironic that she – an accomplished, giving, and potentially powerful woman who made her own way in tech – would be blackballed from the industry by the most powerful company the internet has ever known.