Data Scientist, Applied Mathematician

A note to our community on building trust

In case you don’t know, DataCamp recently published a statement concerning a senior executive—who is still with the company—sexually assaulting an employee—who is not (more details at the bottom of this post). The former employee has bravely come forward, so I wish to share the following two facts:

1. I disclosed to my manager on June 12th, 2018 my concerns about DataCamp’s internal handling of the sexual assault; DataCamp fired me three days later. My colleague Greg Wilson (who had expressed similar sentiments) was fired the same day (see http://third-bit.com/2019/04/05/the-worst-behavior.html for his thoughts).

  • As of June 2018, to the best of my knowledge, the assailant's punishment was a single day's sensitivity training & an imposed limit on his alcohol consumption at company functions.
  • I criticized two precedents being established internally: that DataCamp doesn't take sexual assault seriously, and worse, that illegal behavior is acceptable from employees of sufficiently high rank.
  • DataCamp first tried to poach me from my prior job in June 2017 and continued until I started at DataCamp in April 2018. My employment there lasted less than 75 days—before a quarterly performance review was possible (and an improvement plan established as is standard HR practice).
  • In spite of my being fired "for performance", the 5 courses I supervised/appeared in remain at the core of DataCamp’s Python curriculum; they have been completed by nearly a quarter of a million people since 2017 (DataCamp's public-facing numbers).

2. Upon termination, DataCamp offered me money to sign a non-disparagement agreement to restrict my speaking publicly or privately about the company and its officers. I declined to accept these conditions & any according compensation.

  • The letter of separation included the NDA as well as a release of my future rights to sue.

DataCamp refutes any connection between my complaint and the terminations three days later. They also assert (about the sexual assault incident):

“The incident was antithetical to both the true culture of our company as well as our belief of the personal ethics and integrity of the executive in question.”

I cannot know their intentions, but, in my opinion, all their actions—those shortly after Oct. 2017, those I witnessed as an employee between April & June 2018, and those from the last two weeks—are inconsistent with both of those claims.

Bearing all the above in mind, I cannot in good faith recommend working with DataCamp—as an employee or as a content-creator—unless the entire management (not just the sexual assailant) is held to account and accepts their collective responsibility for this debacle. Trust has to be earned; DataCamp has a long way to go to earning it from me and, more importantly, from the community of instructors on whom DataCamp relies.


  1. Apr. 3rd: One hundred or so of DataCamp's content-creators/instructors (including me) delivered a letter demanding clarity on what happened (spurred on partially by posts on GlassDoor).
  2. Apr. 4th: DC published a blog post with an "apology."
  3. Apr. 5th: The R-Ladies responded with their ideas.
  4. Apr. 5th: The target of the sexual assault came forward.
  5. Apr. 8th: Very thoughtful pieces started to come out.
  6. Apr. 12th: The HTML from DataCamp’s original “apology” was dissected revealing DataCamp’s deliberate attempt to bury & obscure their post.
  7. Apr. 12th: DataCamp’s content creators began asking for a boycott of their own courses (nobly depriving themselves of revenue) until DataCamp restores their trust.
  8. Apr. 12th: Tweets addressed to the VC funders of DataCamp started to appear asking for their stand on this situation.
  9. Apr. 14th Tweets addressed to DataCamp CEO Jonathan Cornellison started to appear asking for his stand on this situation.