Chinese Bike-Sharing Giant Investigates Sexual Harassment Case

(Bloomberg) -- Mobike, China’s bike-sharing startup recently acquired by neighborhood services giant Meituan Dianping, said it is investigating sexual harassment allegations against a manager at the $3 billion company.

A special investigation committee has been set up after the company received a report from a female employee that a manager allegedly sexually harassed her and two other female workers. The manager has been suspended, Mobike said in a statement.

Mobike didn’t identify the manager in its statement. The parent company Meituan Dianping is currently preparing an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

The case is part of an expanding #MeToo movement across China’s universities, media and technology circles. Mobike’s investigation follows the downfall of a high-profile IDG Capital executive, who was fired in May after allegations of misconduct were spread over social media. Last month, the nascent movement gained momentum with allegations of sexual harassment, made in an anonymous letter, targeted at Zhu Jun, who hosted shows for China Central Television for more than two decades.

China’s #MeToo movement first came to prominence in January when allegations against a professor at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics were published on social media. Since then, a number of allegations have been made against academics, environmentalists and journalists.

In the past, China dealt with gender discrimination away from the public spotlight. The technology space is rife with examples of workplace discrimination: Some of its largest companies post job ads that use women as bait to lure male workers. Student activists in the past year have sought to air issues of harassment across the country, with some turning to blockchain technology to document #MeToo allegations to avoid censorship.

In the U.S., where the #MeToo movement started, powerful men in media and entertainment have lost their jobs in the past year over allegations of sexual misconduct. They include movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Pixar animation boss John Lasseter and broadcaster Charlie Rose.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.