Workers Sue Over ‘Violently Misogynistic’ Rap Played in Warehouse Including Eminem’s “Stan” and Too Short’s “Blowjob Betty”

A sex discrimination lawsuit over explicit hip-hop played at a workplace in Reno can go forward, a federal appeals court ruled.

A federal appeals court has ruled that Reno company S&S Activewear can be sued for playing "sexually graphic, violently misogynistic" hip-hop in the workplace.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, seven women and one man who used to work at an S&S Activewear warehouse filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against the company that was initially dismissed in December 2021. The suit was reinstated by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, citing sexist lyrics in the music played at the warehouse as potential discrimination.

“An employer’s ‘status as a purported 'equal opportunity harasser' provides no escape hatch for liability,’" Judge M. Margaret McKeown said in the ruling.

According to the lawsuit, S&S Activewear permitted employees to loudly play music of their choosing at the workplace. Songs cited as offensive in the suit include Too Short's "Blowjob Betty" and Eminem's "Stan." The former employees alleged that S&S got complaints about the practice for approximately two years, but only decided to stop letting employees play music in the workplace in 2020 due to the threat of lawsuits.

“Sometimes employees placed the speakers on forklifts and drove around the warehouse, making it more difficult to predict—let alone evade—the music’s reach,” Judge McKeown wrote. “In turn, the music allegedly served as a catalyst for abusive conduct by male employees, who frequently pantomimed sexually graphic gestures, yelled obscenities, made sexually explicit remarks, and openly shared pornographic videos.”

In the ruling, McKeown cited the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's arguments that “exposing employees to misogynistic and sexually graphic music can be discrimination because of sex, even where the employer exposes both women and men to the material and even though both women and men find the material offensive.” The former employee's lawyer Mark Mausert praised the appeals court's decision.

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