Susan Fowler’s exposé of the tech giant is coming to the big screen.
It’s been reported by Deadline that Susan Fowler‘s scorching tell-all blog post about the internal culture of sexism and sexual harassment at ride-hailing company Uber has been picked up for production.
The film, titled Disruptors, is already touting some big claims; the word around the block is that the film will be “a potential Erin Brockovich meets The Social Network.” Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Allison Schroeder, best known for penning Hidden Figures, is in charge of bringing Fowler’s story to life onscreen.
Fowler’s piece rocked the world over in February this year, with her assertions leading to Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, resigning and some seriously declining audience approval scores. Sadly, it isn’t really shocking that a tech giant was/is more than knee-deep in a culture of toxic masculinity, but the sheer size and influence Uber had attained over the years made it a very public example. Fowler not only documents a culture of repeat sexual advances by a sleazy higher-up. She also explains how managers and directors blatantly blocked her career progression in the midst of their own political agendas and of course, several disastrous interactions with Uber’s human resources department. It was a rightful indictment of the boys’ club in which she was immersed in.
Accounts like Fowler’s or those of the ever-increasing number of women speaking out against Harvey Weinstein recount sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. Moreover, they highlight the economic ramifications of women’s decisions to have autonomy over their bodies and minds. Actor, writer, and director Brit Marling published an essay with The Atlantic yesterday, which sums up the similar threads tying Fowler’s Silicon Valley experience to those of women in Hollywood currently outing known abusers:
“Weinstein was a gatekeeper who could give actresses a career that would sustain their lives and the livelihood of their families. He could also give them fame, which is one of few ways for women to gain some semblance of power and voice inside a patriarchal world. They knew it. He knew it. Weinstein could also ensure that these women would never work again if they humiliated him. That’s not just artistic or emotional exile—that’s also economic exile.”
Fowler’s story is timeliest now when Hollywood itself is reeling from its own series of scandals within the elite. But it also emphasizes the sad universality of her experiences. There are multiple layers of trauma that shape many women’s experiences. While women suffer a lot onscreen as it is, it is often in the name of men. They instead deserve to have their experiences accurately talked about and portrayed more. Hidden Figures was one of the most important films of the past awards season, was incredibly well received by critics, and shone a light on the forgotten women of an industry all the while… and was a feel-good, empowering experience for many. There’s hope that Schroeder is able to adapt Disruptors in a similar way. The portrayal of Fowler’s story has the potential to join the ranks alongside Hidden Figures in a list of films that are long overdue: the kind that attempts to redress deeply-rooted problems across industries everywhere.