eBay has consented to pay $3 million (£2.36 million) to settle harassment claims made against bloggers who are critical of the business.
Executives at eBay brought real spiders and cockroaches to Ina and David Steiner, according to court records.
Prosecutors said that the couple was singled out for creating a newsletter that the staff didn’t like.
The pair had been “emotionally, psychologically, and physically” terrorised, according to the documents.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the pair was singled out by Jim Baugh, the former senior director of safety and security at eBay, for creating the newsletter EcommerceBytes, which the company’s officials found objectionable.
According to court filings, Baugh spearheaded an effort to intimidate the Steiners along with six other people.
A foetal pig, a funeral wreath, and live insects were among the intimidation tactics sent to the Steiners’ Natick, Massachusetts, home.
According to the documents, Baugh and his friends also put a GPS tracking device in the couple’s car and posted advertisements on Craigslist asking people to have sex at their house.
Shortly after the incident, eBay fired the employees in question.
Philip Cooke, an employee, received an 18-month prison sentence in 2021. Baugh received a roughly five-year sentence the following year.
Baugh’s lawyers alleged he faced pressure from former eBay CEO Devin Wenig to reign in the Steiners over their coverage of the company.
The case has not brought charges against Mr. Wenig, who resigned in 2019, and he disputes knowing about the harassment campaign.
In an email to the AP news agency, acting US Attorney Josh Levy of Massachusetts stated that “eBay engaged in absolutely horrific, criminal conduct.”
“The company’s employees and contractors involved in this campaign put the victims through pure hell, in a petrifying campaign aimed at silencing their reporting and protecting the eBay brand.”