TikTok boss on leave after allegedly bullying women: report

A senior TikTok executive who runs the app’s operations in Central Europe has reportedly been placed on leave over allegations that he lords over a toxic work environment in which women subordinates are bullied, “mansplained,” and sexually harassed, according to multiple complaints.

Tobias Henning, general manager of TikTok’s operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, was allegedly such a tyrant that one pregnant staffer avoided meeting with him out of fear that the stress would cause harm to her unborn child, according to one of the explosive complaints obtained by The Post.

“This man is f–king unhinged,” one female employee wrote in a text message to a colleague describing her boss after a tense one-on-one meeting.

On Monday, staffers at TikTok offices in Germany were informed that Henning was placed on leave while TikTok investigates the complaints, according to Fast Company.

Several women in TikTok’s offices in Berlin alleged that Henning exhibited “unpredictable” mood swings characterized by “a sudden and drastic change in attitude” that reduced them to tears, according to the complaint reviewed by The Post.

One staffer who worked under Henning before she left the firm in July 2022 said in the formal internal complaint obtained by The Post that he subjected her to “misogynistic behavior and sexual harassment, especially derogatory comments, lack of respect and mansplaining.”

When she reported these incidents to human resources, “she did not receive any support” as HR reps “disregarded her concerns and tried to shut her down,” it was alleged in the complaint.

Another woman who remains employed at TikTok Germany alleged that she experienced “a bout of nervous collapse” and was subjected to “severe psychological distress” after a June 8, 2023, meeting with Henning, during which the executive “exerted significant pressure” on her and “reiterat[ed] that she was not performing her duties adequately.”

The unnamed employee, who was pregnant at the time, told her colleagues that the encounter made her “reluctan[t] to attend another meeting with Tobias due to the fear of jeopardizing her unborn child,” according to the complaint.

The complaint includes a screenshot of a text message from the pregnant woman to a colleague in which she appears to write: “let me get through this next meeting first and see, but yeah I need some rest, this man is f–king unhinged.”

She alleged in the complaint that Henning violated German labor laws that safeguard pregnant employees by failing to “arrange her workplace in a manner that ensured sufficient protection for herself and her kid against any health hazards.”

Henning also had the propensity to “[not] hesitate to humiliate and undermine his direct reports” by remarking on their performance in front of others as well as “refusing trips or industry events attendance for no business reason,” the complaint alleged.

The Post has sought comment from the female workers as well as the author of one of the internal complaints.

Henning did not reply to multiple requests for comment.

A TikTok spokesperson told The Post before Henning’s suspension that the company “has strong policies against discrimination and harassment in the workplace and employees are encouraged to report their concerns — anonymously, if they so choose.”

“Every incident is investigated and appropriate action is taken at its conclusion,” the company rep told The Post.

TikTok has not commented since putting Henning on leave.

The undated complaints, which were also reported by the German-language daily Der Spiegel (paywall), were submitted to TikTok Germany’s “works council” — an internal body made up of company employees elected by the workforce under European labor regulations.

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Works councils in Germany, which are tasked with representing employee interests vis–vis management, are distinct from labor unions in that membership in organized labor is not a requirement to be elected.

While collective bargaining agreements in Germany are struck between companies and national labor unions, works councils in individual companies can negotiate with management to tailor those deals to local preferences.

Other complaints reviewed by Fast Company detail alleged behavior that was described as “misogynistic, reckless and disrespectful.”

Tobias Henning is a bully and its known by the leadership for years, a current TikTok employee told Fast Company.

In February, a New York-based former marketing executive at TikTok alleged that she was fired by the company for failing to demonstrate “the docility and meekness specifically required of female employees.”

Katie Riccio Puris, a Long Island native, filed suit in Manhattan federal court against TikTok’s Chinese-based parent company ByteDance alleging that her male colleagues were spared from the same treatment and that the firm failed to properly address a sexual harassment allegation.

In 2022, a former senior-level employee at TikTok claimed managers made their subordinates work 12-hour days six days a week.

In some cases, TikTok bosses would make workers hop on virtual meetings during weekends and after hours, according to the ex-employee, Pabel Martinez.

TikTok, which was released in 2016, has rapidly grown into one of the country’s most popular social media apps, particularly among younger users.

But the app’s future in the United States appears murky after President Biden signed into law a measure that requires ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US business or face a ban.

TikTok has denied allegations made by lawmakers in both major parties who say that its Chinese-based parent company may be forced to provide Americans’ user data to the Communist Party-run government in Beijing.

TikTok has filed suit against the Biden administration seeking to overturn the ban.

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