China’s technology giant Alibaba has been embroiled in a fresh scandal where a female employee alleged that she was molested by Alibaba’s client and then raped by her direct supervisor last month after a booze-filled business dinner.
In an internal letter written by the victim that has since gone viral on China’s social media, the employee alleged that her supervisor had sexually assaulted her during a business trip in Jinan in Shandong province on July 27.
She wrote she was pressured into drinking with clients at a company dinner, and was then molested by one of the clients before being raped by her supervisor in a hotel room. She said she reported the incident to the company, but to no avail.
Daniel Zhang, the CEO of Alibaba on Sunday, responded in a statement, saying he felt “shocked, angered and ashamed” on hearing the allegation and promised full investigation both internally and with local police.
On Monday, two senior managers with Alibaba, namely president of Alibaba’s neighborhood retail division and the division’s head of human resources, resigned.
The direct supervisor was fired for having “excessive intimacy” with the victim in a drunken state, and would never be hired again by the company, Zhang wrote in an internal memo.
“This incident is a humiliation for all Alibaba employees,” Zhang wrote.
“We must rebuild, and we must change. Change is only possible if everyone takes individual action, but it must start at the top. It starts with me. Please wait and watch,” he signed off.
This is the latest public crisis for the tech giant, which is under immense scrutiny by authorities and the public from data security to work culture and employment benefits.
Its Ant Group listing, which was set to be the biggest IPO, was quashed following Chinese president Xi Jinping’s direct order late last year, according to WSJ. The company’s charismatic leader Jack Ma has since disappeared from public view and remained on a low profile.
The company was also criticized for its demanding work culture, dubbed as “996”, which means employees are asked to work from 9am to 9pm, six days a week.