Whitney Sharpe, a business executive and former beauty queen, is being praised online after she called out a male client for making “nasty” comments about her when he accidentally shared his screen during a video call.
On Tuesday (24 January), the former Miss Massachusetts winner posted a TikTok video of herself on a Microsoft Teams call with three male clients from a prospective vendor who were looking to sell their software to her staffing company, Mindlance.
When one of the men accidentally shared his screen during the video call, he also exposed his group chat with his colleagues in which they made objectifying comments about Sharpe’s appearance.
In response, Sharpe called out her male colleagues prompting women everywhere to praise her for “standing up” for herself.
“First of all, if we’re going to continue working together, I want to work with a woman sales representative because I don’t want to have to see ‘locker room talk’ about myself you’re sharing screens,” she said during the call, after catching a glimpse at their inappropriate messages.
“So, if we’re going to move forward, I would like to work with an account rep that’s maybe a woman in the area so that we can move forward that way,” Sharpe continued.
The Boston-based executive gave her male clients the benefit of the doubt when she assured them that it “was a mistake,” but reaffirmed that she doesn’t “want to see locker room talk about myself” especially while conducting business.
“I just want to work with a woman moving forward, if possible,” she emphasised.
One of the male clients on the video call apologised profusely to Sharpe, and said the “nasty” comments were “inexcusable”.
She wrote over the video, “When a vendor accidentally shares his group Teams chat and it’s all nasty things about me,” and captioned the clip: “It’s rough being a woman in a male dominated field.”
Since it was posted, Sharpe’s video has been viewed 10 million times. But despite receiving an apology from one of the male vendors during the video call, she didn’t receive a formal apology from the company – which she didn’t name – until much later.
In one follow-up video, which she captioned “How not to apologize in corporate America 101,” Sharpe shared a screenshot of an email she received from the company’s vice president of sales one day later. Although the VP said there was “no excuse” for the men’s lack of professionalism, he did admit that he couldn’t reassign her to a female sales representative moving forward because there were no women “skilled enough” to assist her.
“Red flag! Red flag! Don’t you see that as a problem in that statement alone?” Sharpe filmed herself saying as she showed off a screenshot of the email. “Why don’t you hire someone? There’s plenty of talented women out in the field.”
Sharpe then posted a second update, revealing that the VP of sales finally called her over the phone – not to apologise, but to do “damage control” and continue with the sale. Sharpe revealed to her followers that she ultimately dropped the company as a potential vendor because she can’t “work with a vendor and my company will not support a vendor that does not support women in business”.
After going viral, Whitney Sharpe received countless support from fellow women in the comments section. Thousands of users commended Sharpe for how she handled the inappropriate situation.
The saga continues. I can’t thank you all enough for the love and support. There’s so many bad ass women out there 💖
♬ original sound - Whitney
“Yeeees! You handled this so well! I’m sending to my daughters!” one person commented. “You are AMAZING!”
“The way you stood up for yourself right then too,” said someone else, while another user shared, “You handled this like a BOSS.”
Another user noted: “The fact that you called them out so tactfully is so impressive. I hope they are embarrassed.”
Even Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran commented, “You rock!” along with a clapping emoji.
The Independent has contacted Whitney Sharpe for comment.