Photo via Flickr user jeepersmedia
Monster Energy, the beverage company best known for manufacturing highly caffeinated carbonated energy drinks, is now entangled in a number of legal battles: Five former female employees have filed four lawsuits against the company for alleged sexual misconduct, according to a Huffington Post exclusive published on Tuesday, ranging from harassment to assault to retaliation.The allegations are detailed and robust. One of the accused men is a company VP, John Kenneally, who three defendants have hit with allegations of bullying, harassment, and retaliation. Texts obtained by HuffPost show Kenneally describing one former employee he'd pursued a sexual relationship with as a “whore,” another in which that same woman and another female employee are referred to as “bitch,” and a third making a racially charged reference to “black dicks.”
Philip Deitrich, who also occupies a managerial role within the company (his LinkedIn profile currently describes him as the National Director of Wholesale and Vending), has been accused by another former female subordinate of humiliating her repeatedly in front of co-workers, calling her, in one alleged instance, a “poor excuse of an employee.” The company's head of music marketing, Brent Hamilton, is currently awaiting trial for charges connected to a 2016 incident in which he is accused of strangling his girlfriend on a business trip, bloodying her thumb from biting her, and pulling clumps of her hair out of her head.
There are four lawsuits in total naming the three men. A fifth lawsuit against the company, filed in 2016 by another former female employee, charges that her claims of experiencing harassment at the company fell on deaf ears, and were brushed off by the company's female former head of human resources.The three men named in the story are still employed with Monster, though Kenneally was put on paid leave last week after HuffPost contacted the company to communicate about the story. The company denied that the decision to put him on leave was related to the pending suit.HuffPost's report paints a picture of a toxic environment within the company—endemic, too, to Monster's public-facing image—that offered impunity for bad actors, while women at the receiving end of this behavior suffered long-term damage to their careers.
Monster, in a comment to HuffPost, maintained that the five women were simply “disgruntled employees” whose allegations were meritless, though it added that the company takes any claims of sexual harassment and discrimination “extremely seriously” and is currently conducting an internal investigation into the cases.“The only connection is that these individuals suing Monster for money have endeavored to band together to litigate their cases in the media,” the company said in a 600-word statement sent to HuffPost. “The cases are diverse, unrelated and do not remotely suggest a systemic environment of harassment or discrimination.”A representative from Coca-Cola, which owns an 18.1-percent stake in Monster Energy, told HuffPost that the company was "unaware" of any cases. When reached for comment on Wednesday via email by MUNCHIES, a Coca-Cola spokesperson distanced the company from the allegations at Monster while reaffirming its own policies against harassment."Coca-Cola is not involved in these cases," the statement provided to MUNCHIES read. "Monster is an independent, publicly traded company. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment, and we are committed to building a thriving workplace where all employees are respected and feel supported to be successful.”MUNCHIES has reached out to Monster for further comment on the lawsuits but has yet to receive a response.