'Men don't turn you on at all?' Teen asks tech entrepreneur for career advice, he wants to know about her sexuality

Claire Cohen
Lydia Jones shared the exchange on Twitter - Twitter/Lydia Jones

The tech scene has long been accused of inherent sexism, with fingers pointed at Silicon Valley's lack of advancement for women, pay gap and claims of sexual harassment. 

But such attitudes are not confined to Palo Alto, as a tweet from a young British woman has shown this week.

Lydia Jones, 18, shared her Facebook exchange with an older male entrepreneur, who she had contacted as a potential mentor. 

She wanted some career advice on accessing the London tech scene, as her start-up is based near Manchester. The teenager told Mashable that she reached out to the man after seeing him post "numerous times" in the London Startup and Entrepreneurs Facebook group. 

In her message, she wrote: "I'm contacting as I thought you'd be someone who would potentially know some startup advisors/ mentors in London?"

His response shocked her.

Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

 The exchange soon became uncomfortable, as the man asked how old she was and wanted to know whether she was 'single' - asking whether her boyfriend could help her.

When Jones replied that she is gay, he pressed her on the subject her sexuality, questioning whether  she was 'open' about it and replying, "so men don't turn you on at all?"

Jones responded that she thought he was a "businessman" to which he shot back, "I'm also a human being too, right?" 

Screenshots of the conversation that Jones posted on Twitter have now been retweeted almost 5,000 times and had over 7,000 likes.  Commenters have praised her for sharing the experience, calling it 'disgusting' and 'sickening', and thanking her for exposing the behaviour women in tech are so often subjected to.

Jones has also been inundated with offers of mentoring and careers advice.

The male entrepreneur at the centre of the storm, admitted to Mashable that he had asked about her sexuality. "In the end I didn't say much else because I found out that it wasn't appropriate to ask her even though she said she was open," he said.  "The digital and text word can be misunderstood" but if "this was said in person it wouldn't have been a big deal.

"Richard Branson said all publicity is good publicity so I'm glad she's spreading my brand around. I haven't committed a crime here," he added.  

In September 2015, lawyer Charlotte Proudman publicly outed a barrister who contacted her on professional networking site LinkedIn, complimenting her "stunning picture". In the wake of the row, critics told her that she had 'ruined her career' and she was branded a 'feminazi'. 

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