A former employee is exposing one of the largest leftist book publishers in the world, Verso Books, as a dangerous work environment that systematically protects credibly accused rapists and sexual harassers while ignoring their accusers.
Verso was founded in 1970 to specialize in promoting books inspired by the Frankfurt School, an influential line of leftist ideology that de-emphasizes working class interests and prioritizes racial, gender and sexual identitarianism instead.
The publisher is known for releasing some of the most extreme "feminist" books ever written, including Sophie Lewis' Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, which calls for policies that would forcibly abolish the concept of motherhood. It has two global headquarters, one in London and another in Brooklyn, the latter which is outfitted with a bar and dance floor used for parties where Marxist intellectuals, wealthy New Yorkers, local "Antifa" organizers and liberal journalists socialize together.
But not all is as it seems for the company that aggressively signals support for the "MeToo" movement.
Late last month, former Verso publicist Emily Janakiram blew the whistle on the toxic conditions created at the office by its boss, Jacob Stevens, along with the corporation's board of directors.
In September 2018, Janakiram attended a company event with Stevens. They were alone drinking at the bar when he allegedly began telling her that she needed to find a way to "stand out." He is accused of following the strange comment with a remark claiming that he hired her because he wanted a physically attractive woman at his office.
Due to his position of authority over her, Janakiram says she tried to ignore the comment. When she decided she wanted to leave, she grew concerned when her boss was insisting on sharing a cab home.
Such an exchange would quickly get a shift supervisor at McDonald's fired, but in Janakiram's case, Stevens was sheltered by Verso's loose work place behavior standards. Verso's HR coordinator appears to be Stevens' personal friend Duncan Ranslem, for example. Janakiram became the first woman in the company's history to file a sexual harassment complaint.
The article remarks that this was not the first troubling incident related to sexual misconduct. Janakiram recalls that from November 2017 to January 2018, she repeatedly tried to bring attention to two Verso authors being accused of rape, Gopal Balakrishnan and Franco Moretti.
Balakrishnan, a Verso board member who only resigned on his own in late 2018, was fired from his tenured teaching job at UCSC for incidents of sexual misconduct going back to 2006 and is currently being sued for trying to rape one of his intoxicated graduate students.
Moretti, an academic now in his 70s, has been accused of sexual assault against his students at three separate universities he has worked for.
Yet, even at the height of the "Me Too" moment, the board at Verso closed ranks and refused to either suspend Balakrishnan or terminate Moretti's book contract in light of the mountains of evidence available to them. While Verso is a loud supporter of the "Me Too" campaign, in private the board derided it as "corporate neoliberalism" and compared the suggestion of canceling Balakrishnan or Moretti to "burning books."
As for Stevens, Janakiram finally received a letter from the HR department apologizing for his behavior, dated May 2019. She says they begged her to keep the dispute private. She found the letter to be contrived and legalistic and gave up on holding Stevens accountable, so she quit.
Then, in August 2020, she flew into a rage when she saw Verso was hosting a "Me Too" event featuring Tara Reade. She demanded they pull out. Ultimately Verso responded to her complaint by promising to publish more feminist books and internally addressing issues with their work place culture.
Ultimately, all of the radical feminists at Verso wound up defending Stevens against his accuser because they were either having sex with him, making good money, or supported Verso ideologically, according to Janakiram.
It should be noted that Verso has yet to address the claims publicly or reprimand its director. On social media, none of the the "believe all women" feminists are daring to take Janakiram seriously. Digital media, which is often gossip-hungry, is also conspicuously silent.