Work

MoviePass product manager quits in company-wide email, describes a 'perilous work environment'

Mike Segar | Reuters Pictures

Some employees quit over the store intercom. Others achieve similar impact simply by hitting "send."

On Wednesday, Eric Jeng quit his role as a product manager at MoviePass in an email sent to every employee at the company. 

Business Insider obtained the "scathing" 704-word letter, in which Jeng wrote that he could no longer "in good conscience work for people who foster such a perilous work environment for their employees." He spoke of alleged inappropriate behavior by members of MoviePass' leadership team and a toxic work environment.

While Jeng, who had reportedly worked at the company for one year, did not include specific examples, current and former MoviePass employees told Business Insider that the letter referred to alleged actions of MoviePass marketing consultant Bob Ellis, who has repeatedly been accused of inappropriate behavior towards women at the company.

According to sources familiar with the incident, several MoviePass executives threatened to quit in June 2018 if Ellis was not removed, and CEO Mitch Lowe allegedly told employees that Ellis had been let go. In November, both of the company's human resources employees were fired, and as recently as December, Ellis was still present at events and meetings at the organization. Ellis is reportedly a close friend of Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics, MoviePass' parent company.

Mitch Lowe and Ted Farnsworth
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

"Leadership chose their own personal friendships over the reputation of the company and the safety of MoviePass employees who have been working so hard to improve the position of our company every single day," wrote Jeng.

In the letter, he also referenced an image posted on Instagram that shows Ellis and several MoviePass and Helios executives lounging on a yacht in Miami together during an event that Khalid Itum, EVP of MoviePass, allegedly described as a "business" event.

Jeng said that the post "was not only completely thoughtless, but also incredibly tone deaf. Our employees are working late hours, sometimes until 1 a.m. and on holidays to build, develop and release new MoviePass features and products, while fearful of the financial future and stability of the company."

He continued, "It sends an incredibly selfish message to MoviePass employees that members of management are living lavishly and seemingly carefree, with no concern for the company or its employees."

The now former employee also stressed the importance of reinstating a "functional and qualified HR department" at the company.

"When leadership decided to fire our only qualified HR employees, they sent a very clear message that they care very little about employee safety and security. There currently is no effective outlet for employees to discuss issues about their comfort and safety in the workplace," he wrote. "It is clear to me that our work environment has become simply too dangerous and toxic, and that we as employees cannot depend on Ted, Mitch and Khalid."

CNBC Make It reached out to Jeng and MoviePass for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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