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Eighteen-year-old Emily Houser claims that for two years she was sexually harassed by her manager at Chili’s in Whitehall, Pennsylvania.
Houser told BuzzFeed News that her manager Josh Davidson immediately took an interest in her when he started, showing up to her house uninvited at random times, demanding she go out with him, and showering her with expensive gifts, which she continually rejected.
Houser made it clear from the start she was not interested, she says, but Davidson grew more aggressive in his pursuit.
“On my 18th birthday, he showed up to my high school in the parking lot and just kind of rampaged me with gifts and asked me to officially be his girlfriend in front of a bunch of people,” Houser told BuzzFeed News. “I said no, and he replied in a very pompous way, saying he didn’t care if he got fired if we were together, and he didn’t care if he lost his job because he just wanted to be with me.”
Afterward, Davidson became “verbally and even physically weird and abusive towards [Houser] at work.” The teen says she ignored it and did not tell anyone about it.
However, when Davidson allegedly took interest in another young girl, “that’s when I decided I should report the situation,” she says, “because even though I came out of the situation fine, I don’t know how another young girl is going to feel.”
Houser decided to quit her job and report the situation to Chili’s corporate headquarters. After an investigation, Davidson was relocated to Montgomery, Pennsylvania. Last Sunday was Davidson’s last day on the job at Whitehall, and his co-workers threw him a goodbye party in support—with a cake that read “Fuck Emily Houser.”
Houser said Davidson was a popular manager, and many probably blamed her for his transfer. One worker posted the cake on Instagram with the caption, “Have your cake and eat it too hoe #petty.” Several commented in agreement, with the hashtag #TeamJosh.
1. This is why women don't report— Julia Reinstein (@juliareinstein) April 5, 2017
2. Calling out corporations can make them act on issues they'd swept under the rug https://t.co/r8LZIdbX89
After Houser started sharing screenshots on Facebook and people reported the employees’ Instagram accounts for harassment, a majority of those users have had their accounts removed.
The teen had intended on keeping the case private, but that didn’t happen. She believes Davidson must have told the staff about it.
Davidson didn’t respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment, but on Tuesday, a Chili’s spokesperson said, “the team members involved are no longer with the company.”
“If he’s actually been removed from the company then I’ll be happy,” Houser said, “not that he’s out of a job, but that he’s not able to do this to anyone else.”
The outpouring of support she’s received has been “crazy and overwhelming,” she said. Now, Houser hopes her co-workers will realize the repercussions of their slanderous actions.
“I don’t want any personal gain from this whatsoever,” Houser said. “I just want them to stop, because this is the kind of thing that people commit suicide over.”
Anastassia Gliadkovskaya is a lifestyle and politics reporter. Her work has been published by Empire State Tribune and Urban Watch magazine.