Yelp Fires Young Worker for Public Complaint to CEO

Yelp NYSE (Richard Drew / Associated Press)
Richard Drew / Associated Press

A 25-year-old college graduate with a degree in English literature was fired from Yelp soon after she posted a blistering open letter to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman complaining that she was underpaid.

Talia Jane’s rambling complaint, as reported by the Huffington Post, was titled, “An Open Letter To My CEO,” and posted on Medium. It bemoaned her inability to pay for her $1,245-per-month rent and her lack of food on her bi-weekly $733.24 wage. She also moaned about the company’s policy to make her wait one year before she earned a promotion, writing, “A whole year answering calls and talking to customers just for the hope that someday I’d be able to make memes and twitter jokes about food.”

Talia Jane acknowledged that the company offers “great” benefits, but then complained about the $20 copays, saying, “I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. So here I am, 25-years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week.”

Noting the “snacks you make sure are on every floor,” Talia Jane added, “By and large, our floor pummels through those snacks the fastest and has to roam other floors to find something to eat. Is it because we’re gluttons? Maybe. If you starve a pack of wolves and toss them a single steak, will they rip each other to shreds fighting over it? Definitely.”

Other complaints: “I can’t afford to buy groceries.” “Will you pay my phone bill for me?” “I haven’t even gotten an oil change since I started this job (in August). But maybe I could find someone on Craigslist who won’t mind all of that because they’ll look at the dark circles under my eyes and realize I need the cash more than they do.” “Have you ever drank (sic) a liter of water before going to bed so you could fall asleep without waking up a few hours later with stomach pains because the last time you ate was at work?”

At the end of her diatribe, Talia Jane posted: “My PayPal is, my Venmo is taliajane (no hyphen). Square Cash is$TaliaJane.”

After she was fired, Talia Jane, who calls herself Lady Murderface on Twitter, tweeted:

Stoppelman wrote on Twitter:

A Yelp spokesman told the Huffington Post that Talia Jane’s letter was, “an important example of freedom of speech,” adding:

We do not comment on personnel issues. However, we did agree with many of the points in Ms. Jane’s post and we viewed it as her real, personal narrative about what it’s like to live in the Bay Area. We agree with her comments about the high costs of living in San Francisco, which is why we announced in December that we are expanding our Eat24 customer support team into our Phoenix office where [we] will pay the same wage.”

One commenter on Talia Jane’s post wrote bluntly, “I’m going to be brutally honest. You do in fact, like many others have pointed out, sound like a stereotypical, entitled, and whiny millennial. The reason why you were/are in the predicament you are now is because you put yourself there. You made poor financial decisions because you wanted to live in a fancy apartment that you could not afford.”

Talia Jane’s description of herself on Twitter says it all: “Talia jane comedy • writing • better at thinking about things than actually doing them.”


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