Six former Ebay executives and staff are being charged with cyberstalking and tampering with witnesses after launching an alleged campaign of intimidation against journalists.
Ebay’s former director of safety and security James Baugh and former director of global resiliency David Harville have been charged alongside four others, while Ebay’s former chief executive David Wenig was implicated but not charged.
The group are accused of launching a campaign of intimidation against Ina and David Steiner, who run the news publications Ecommercebytes, after they published a critical newsletter of the company detailing Wenig’s salary.
Wenig is understood to have messaged the group with instructions to “take (Ina Steiner) down”, to which a member responded: “We are going to crush this lady”.
An internal investigation, which saw the six employees sacked in August last year, determined that while Wenig’s communications were inappropriate, he had no knowledge of the group’s activities.
The group has been accused of sending a number of threatening messages to the couple on social media, alongside a box of cockroaches, a bloody pig mask and a funeral wreath to their home.
They also posted their address on online classified websites inviting strangers over for “sex day or night”.
“Ebay does not tolerate this kind of behaviour,” Ebay said in a statement.
“Ebay apologises to the affected individuals and is sorry that they were subjected to this. Ebay holds its employees to high standards of conduct and ethics and will continue to take appropriate action to ensure these standards are followed.”
Wenig also responded to the allegations stating: “As confirmed by the company, following a thorough, independent investigation, I did not direct or know anything about the acts that have been charged in Boston. I have spent my career defending press freedoms. What these charges allege is unconscionable.”
It is understood that the group eventually planned for Ebay to step in and offer to help the couple against the harassment, leading to more positive coverage of the company.