- Susan Fowler
- Susan Fowler has already found a buyer to make a movie about her time at Uber, reports Deadline. And Fowler’s book on her life is being shopped to publishers now and has multiple bidders. Her life story is extraordinary, too: She’s gone from home schooled and largely self-taught to a famous software engineer who has filed a petition with the Supreme Court.
If Susan Fowler’s infamous “very, very strange year at Uber” was the stuff of lemons, then Fowler is making lemonade.
It seems she has already sold a movie about her life, just a few weeks after word leaked that she was shopping the script around.
The film production company Good Universe beat out three other bidders to land the rights to the film, Deadline reports. The film is named “Disrupters,” says Deadline, and it’s supposed to be an “Erin Brockovich” meets “The Social Network.” Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “Hidden Figures” Allison Schroeder has also reportedly been tapped to write it.
Good Universe is an interesting fit for the story. It’s best known for its silly comedies like 2014’s Neighbors (Seth Rogen, Zac Efron) or 2017’s The House (Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler). But it does dabble in other genres like the forthcoming horror thriller “Extinction” and the 2016 crime thriller “Don’t Breathe.”
And this is on top of two well received technical books that Fowler had previously published, based on the lessons she learned working at Uber building an app that rarely goes down.
From home-schooled to harassed
The 26-year-old Fowler has already given the world a taste of her life story in an interview she gave to New York Times Maureen Dowd. She was raised one of seven kids, daughter of an Evangelical preacher, in a small Arizona town where she was home schooled, Dowd reported. Instead of attending high school, she mostly studied on her own, reading the classics.
She figured out how to get into college on her own and landed a full-ride scholarship to ASU. When the school wouldn’t put her on a track to study astronomy, given her lack of formal math training, she transferred to the University of Pennsylvania and did some brutal catching up in math to study physics there.
She came crashing into the public eye when, back in February, she wrote about the sexism and sexual harassment she said she faced at Uber. Her post told of HR looking the other way as managers allegedly hit on employees and bought just the male members of her team leather jackets.
The blog post went viral and shook the company to its core, eventually leading to the firing of over 20 people and an investor uprising that forced CEO Travis Kalanick out.
But Fowler didn’t stop there. She has filed a petition with the Supreme Court challenging the forced arbitration clauses that tech companies routinely make employees sign as a condition of their employment. This not only keeps employees from suing, but it often means that disputes happen in private, hidden from view.
Fowler told the Times that, like most women, she feared the repercussions of her blog post before she published it. She also didn’t want her name to be forever associated with sexual harassment drama at Uber.
But then she decided, “If what people know you for is bringing light to an issue about bad behavior, about bad stuff going on and laws not being followed and people being treated inappropriately, why wouldn’t I want that? That’s a badge of honor,” she told the Times.
Voices of discontent
Fowler is certainly not the first woman to come forward. Women have been speaking out more and more frequently in the tech industry for years.
Still, Fowler’s voice had power and influence in the wake of President Trump’s election. Her blog post was a spark that lit an enormous fire. In 2017, more women came forward. They revealed stories of harassment by VCs that led to investigations, resignations and dismissals.
The women of Hollywood are now speaking out. And women lawmakers have begun to speak out, too.
Meanwhile, Fowler has a movie deal, is expected to have a book deal soon. She’s written a couple of technical books, filed a Supreme Court petition and, with her first child on the way (a daughter, she told the Times), she can proudly say that change is in the air.
Fowler could not be immediately reached for comment.