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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Massachusetts couple sues company, former executives in eBay harassment case

A Massachusetts couple filed a civil suit against the Silicon Valley giant on Wednesday, subject to threats and other bizarre harassment from former eBay Inc. employees.

David and Ina Steiner said in their lawsuit filed in Boston federal court that the company engaged in a conspiracy to “intimidate, threaten to kill, torture, terrorize, stalk and silence” to “suppress their reporting on eBay” happened.

Natick residents who run Ecommercebytes, an online newsletter focused on the e-commerce industry, say they were subjected to cyberstalking, death threats, bizarre deliveries and personal surveillance by company employees. They are seeking damages to be paid by the jury.

“This has been an incredibly difficult test for my wife and I,” David Steiner said in a statement on Wednesday. “We never thought we would do our job as journalists would take it forward. We want to protect the rights of journalists and their freedom of the press. We have endured immense cruelty and abuse and fear for our lives. If this behavior can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.”

An eBay spokesperson did not respond to an email seeking comment.

In June of last year several former eBay employees were indicted for their roles in a harassment campaign. At least five have already pleaded guilty.

Federal prosecutors have said the harassment included the anonymous delivery of items such as live insects, a funeral wreath, and a bloody pig’s face Halloween mask.

The employees also sent pornographic magazines bearing the husband’s name to their neighbor’s house and planned to break into the couple’s garage to install a GPS device in their car.

Then-U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at the time, “It was a determined, systematic attempt by senior employees of a major company to destroy the lives of a couple in Natick because they published material that company executives liked.” Wasn’t.”

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