- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly said staff should have “a crush'” on COO Sheryl Sandberg.
- Zuckerberg also told staff Sandberg had “good skin,” according to an employee cited in a new book.
- “An Ugly Truth” says there were “demeaning comments casually made about women around the office.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made unprofessional remarks to colleagues about COO Sheryl Sandberg after she joined the company, according to a new book.
Katherine Losse, who was Facebook employee No. 51, said he “mentioned to staff that Sandberg had ‘good skin,’ and said they should have ‘a crush’ on her,” according to An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination. Losse previously made these claims in her own book, “The Boy Kings.”
When it came to addressing improper comments made by other Facebook employees, things weren’t very different, Losse told the book’s authors, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang.
According to the book, at a company meeting, someone brought up a remark that a male employee had said to a female colleague: “I want to put my teeth in your a**.” Zuckerberg responded, “What does that even mean?” and Losse raised the matter with him later, the book says.
“He listened to me, which I appreciated, but understanding the crux of the matter; that is, that women by virtue of our low rank and small numbers were already in a vulnerable situation in the office, did not seem to register,” she told the book’s authors, who say she was “struck by his callowness.”
“When Mark said ‘what does that even mean?’ he was being dismissive of the comment,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. “In the meeting where the comment was addressed, he read the comment and made it clear it was unacceptable.”
Regarding the claims of Zuckerberg’s inappropriate remarks about Sandberg, the spokesperson said, “This is false. Mark never said this.”
A female former Facebook employee told Insider she didn’t hear Zuckerberg make any of these remarks, but it was possible he did. This employee joined Facebook in 2008, while Losse started working there in 2005.
“If he said it, I don’t recall it; it wasn’t said during my time,” she told Insider. “This commentary that makes it feel like it was very male-dominated or that women were all low-ranking and that they were all vulnerable and that there were all these sexist remarks floating about – that is not the Facebook I experienced at all.”
On her first day, Sandberg had made a good impression on the predominantly male engineers she spoke to in a meeting, according to the book. Zuckerberg had told the team Sandberg would help “scale” the company, the book says.
“We’re going to have one thousand people someday, and we’re going to have ten thousand people someday, and then forty thousand people someday,” she said in the meeting, according to the book. “And we’re going to get better, not worse. That’s why I’m here. To make us bigger and better, not worse.”