If you’ve ever received a mean or demeaning comment on a social media post, then you know how much anger and hurt that ridicule can bring.
Recently, Whitney Sharpe, a 28-year-old vice president at a recruiting and employment agency, was subjected to degrading comments about her appearance, posted in a place she didn’t expect: the chat box of a work video call she was on .
Sharpe witnessed a conversation between several potential male clients talking about her in a derogatory manner when a screen was shared with her that inadvertently revealed the chat.
In a video that has now been viewed a whopping 13.9 million times, Sharpe shared a recording of her telling the men in the video call that she had seen the conversation they had about her, and what she thought of it.
It’s rough being a woman in a male-dominated field?
“First of all, if we want to continue working together, I want to work with a female rep, because I don’t want the dressing room talking about myself when you’re sharing screens,” she said bluntly. In a calm way.
The salesperson on the other end of the line tells her that the chat and accidental sharing was “unforgivable” and a mistake, but Sharpe wasn’t into it.
“I liked the product. I know it’s good. I know it’s tried and true,” she says, channeling it back to business. “But I just want to work with a woman if possible.”
Sharpe’s candor and professionalism caught the attention of thousands of commentators, including Shark cage favorite Barbara Corcoran.
“You rock,” Corcoran exclaimed, to which Sharpe replied that she was her “idol” and that gushed Shark cage had inspired her so much in her career.
Other users praised Sharpe for her actions, even after noting that the potential seller on the other end never officially apologized.
“You have class and grace and strength,” one wrote. “Thank you.”
“Wow. You did this without a quaver in your voice,” commented another. “QUEEN!!!!”
In a follow-up video, Sharpe shared an email she received from the VP of the company she had worked with. Sharpe explains that she didn’t expect the video to explode like that and she was still unhappy with the lame apology she received. In the email, she was told that the company had no female representatives “skilled enough” to work with Sharpe.
“Where is I’m sorry? If you’re reading this, it’s like [an] “I’m sorry I got caught on email.” It doesn’t seem sincere. It doesn’t really come across or it doesn’t say what actions they’re taking,” she said in frustration. “I don’t know if they learned anything from this. It’s just really sad that this keeps happening.”
In a third video, Sharpe shared that the VP of sales eventually called her instead of just emailing her, simply saying she wouldn’t do business with that salesperson.
“I cannot work with a supplier and my company will not support a supplier who does not support women in business,” she said. “It’s just not going to happen.”
Sharpe is based in Boston, Massachusetts. She did not disclose the name of the seller or her own company.