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Feedfeed settles discrimination lawsuit by ex-employees

Rachel Gurjar, one of two plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the media company Feedfeed. (Jesse Dittmar for The Washington Post)

Feedfeed and the two former employees who sued the food media and networking company resolved their legal disputes last month, according to court documents, bringing a quiet end to the often-acrimonious case.

The federal discrimination case was officially dismissed Nov. 11, according to public records. No one involved in the suit would comment on its dismissal. Nor would they say whether there was a cash settlement for Rachel Gurjar and Sahara Henry-Bohoskey, who had accused Feedfeed founders Dan and Julie Resnick of fostering a workplace culture in which White employees thrived while the plaintiffs, both women of color, were paid less, verbally abused and retaliated against when they complained.

In their complaint, filed on Jan. 4 in federal court in New York, Gurjar and Henry-Bohoskey alleged Feedfeed was a place that tolerated casual racism and sexism. They claimed they were tasked with menial labor and used to promote Feedfeed’s diversity while being treated as “second-class employees.” They also claimed their ascent up the organizational chart at Feedfeed was slower than that of their White colleagues, and that they were encouraged not to take lunch breaks and were regularly required to work evenings and weekends, often receiving no overtime for those hours.

Women allege racism, sexism at food media company Feedfeed

As part of their lawsuit, the women also accused Jake Cohen, hired in December 2018 as Feedfeed’s editorial and test kitchen director, of fostering a hostile work environment. Cohen was one of the four named defendants, including the Resnicks and the Feedfeed LLC.

Shortly after the complaint was filed, the Resnicks provided a statement to The Washington Post, calling the allegations “simply untrue.” Cohen, who left Feedfeed in August 2020, also provided The Post with a statement at the time, claiming the allegations against him were false, misleading and/or embellished.

Back in January, the Resnicks also indicated that they looked forward to clearing their name in court. They claimed that Gurjar and Henry-Bohoskey never reached their potential at Feedfeed and that they became insubordinate as the company became more structured.

The case never made it to court.

According to court records, the court “strongly encouraged the parties to discuss settlement” in late May. By August, the “parties had reached a settlement in principle following mediation,” but the following month, the court agreed to give the parties “additional time to finalize the settlement.”

Details about a final settlement are confidential. According to court records, all parties agreed to a confidentiality agreement in early May. Bryn Goodman, one of the attorneys for the defendants, did not respond to an email for comment. Nor did the attorneys for Gurjar and Henry-Bohoskey, save for a one-sentence email from attorney Susan Crumiller.

“The litigation has been discontinued and the parties have amicably resolved their dispute,” Crumiller wrote.

Gurjur, Henry-Bohoskey, the Resnicks and Cohen also did not respond to requests for comment.

Both sides tried to settle the dispute before Gurjar and Henry-Bohoskey filed their complaint, but could never reach an agreement. There was one payment to the women, acknowledged by both sides, but it came well before the lawsuit was filed: In October 2021, months after Gurjar and Henry-Bohoskey quit and after The Post started making inquiries for a story, Feedfeed sent the women checks for more than $31,000 each for unpaid overtime. The Post reviewed photocopies of each check.

Matthew Berger, then Feedfeed’s attorney, said the company disagreed with the overtime claims, but “to the extent there was any inadvertent underpayment during their employment, we wanted to make sure they were compensated.”

As part of its response to the lawsuit, Feedfeed made counterclaims against the plaintiffs. The company alleged Gurjar and Henry-Bohoskey illegally recorded phone calls when one of the founders was in California, a state that requires consent from all parties before someone can tape a conversation. Transcripts from some of those calls were used in the lawsuit. Feedfeed was looking for $5,000 for each alleged violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act.

The resolution of the case apparently includes Feedfeed’s counterclaims.

Two months after the complaint was filed, Feedfeed closed its offices in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, where both Gurjar and Henry-Bohoskey had worked. The company auctioned off many of items used at the office and event space, including a collection of cooper pots and Le Creuset cookware.

Feedfeed is currently based in Los Angeles, not far from where the Resnicks bought a home in Malibu’s Sunset Mesa neighborhood in August 2020, six months after laying off two employees at the start of the pandemic. (One of the employees was Giora Stuchiner, Feedfeed’s former art and experiential director, whom the Resnicks said was let go for cause after some inappropriate behaviors with the plaintiffs and others at Feedfeed.)

A native of Mumbai, and a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, Gurjar started at Feedfeed in May 2018. She quit the company in December 2020, not long after she was denied a holiday bonus for what the Resnicks said was, among other things, repeated violations of “company policy on posting content for competitors and current clients.” Two months later, she started as an associate food editor at Bon Appétit, where she works today.

Henry-Bohoskey, the daughter of a mother of European descent and a Jamaican father, was raised in Japan. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and worked in the fashion industry before joining Feedfeed in October 2018. She quit in January 2021, even though she was pregnant and would be sacrificing her state-mandated maternity leave. Henry-Bohoskey moved to Los Angeles, where she is a freelance recipe developer and content creator.