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San Diego beer industry responds to sexual harassment claims

“It’s giving women the courage to speak out."
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Posted at 3:15 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 21:17:47-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The San Diego brewing industry is facing a social reckoning.

Virginia Morrison from Second Chance Beer Company says the change started on social media. A female brewer posted this Instagram story asking, “What sexist comments have you experienced?”

“It basically lit a firestorm of now thousands of accounts from women all over the world talking about discrimination, harassment, things like sexual assault,” said Morrison.

In San Diego, the movement is prompting leadership changes.

Modern Times Beer announced that their CEO, Jacob McKean, is stepping down. In a full-page statement, McKean apologizes for what he calls a “contentious interaction with an employee.” He added, in part:

“No one should ever have to be traumatized at work, and it guts me that people have under my watch. I take full responsibility for that.”

Morrison is also the president of the San Diego Brewers Guild. They released a statement saying they stand by the victims and are calling for change.

“We want to get them the resources, education, and training they need to support and how to handle these instances in the future and how to report them when they’re alleged,” said Morrison.

She’s hoping restarting the conversation around sexual harassment will lead to fewer cases moving forward.

“It’s giving women the courage to speak out and say, this happened to me. And we need to hear that, as painful as that is, in order to prevent it from happening in the future.”

Modern Times Beer says they're already implementing changes at their locations. They're also creating an anonymous third-party system for reporting sexual harassment and hiring a new manager for diversity, equity, and inclusion.