Home Scandal and Gossip ‘But I’m starving’ Talia Jane fired from Yelp after open letter

‘But I’m starving’ Talia Jane fired from Yelp after open letter

Talia Jane
Talia Jane fired from Yelp. Did one woman get what she deserved?
Talia Jane
Talia Jane fired from Yelp. Did one woman get what she deserved? Pictured Talia Jane an inspiring media writer.

Talia Jane a former Yelp employee has been promptly fired after an open letter she wrote addressing the company CEO in which the worker complained of being paid too low to even be able to afford to buy food.

The woman’s dismissal over the weekend (barely two hours after a blog post made the rounds) comes after the customer support employee published an essay on Medium Friday evening explaining how little she was paid, and how she couldn’t afford to buy groceries or heat her apartment on her $8.15 an hour after tax salary.

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Wrote in part, Talia Jane in an open letter addressed to Yelp CEO and founder, Jeremy Stoppelman:

‘So here I am, 25-years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week. Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent. She ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage. Another wrote on those neat whiteboards we’ve got on every floor begging for help because he was bound to be homeless in two weeks. Fortunately, someone helped him out. At least, I think they did. I actually haven’t seen him in the past few months. Do you think he’s okay?’

And here; ‘Because 80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?’

Talia Jane
Talia Jane

And more eyeball stuff here, which many of you will recognize:

‘I just got a text from T-Mobile telling me my bill is due. I got paid yesterday ($733.24, bi-weekly) but I have to save as much of that as possible to pay my rent ($1245) for my apartment that’s 30 miles away from work because it was the cheapest place I could find that had access to the train, which costs me $5.65 one way to get to work. That’s $11.30 a day, by the way. I make $8.15 an hour after taxes. I also have to pay my gas and electric bill. Last month it was $120. According to the infograph on PG&E’s website, that cost was because I used my heater. I’ve since stopped using my heater. Have you ever slept fully clothed under several blankets just so you don’t get a cold and have to miss work?’

Shortly after posting the piece, Jane’s corporate email account was disabled. It wasn’t too long before Talia Jane found out she’d been fired.

Talia’s dismissal led to the former employee recounting her firing via gawker.

Told the employee who arguably could represent the common denominator for many American employees living a similar dystopian nightmare:

‘I found out before my manager did. About two hours after I posted the letter, my phone vibrated but didn’t have a notification—my mailbox does this sometimes, I don’t know why, so I checked my inbox for all my linked email accounts…That’s when I knew, because they terminate all your access to the system before you come into work. So I called my manager and told him I got fired. He didn’t know what I was talking about and said he’d call me back after he looked into it. He called me back a few minutes later and told me someone from HR was there with him.’

Since her dismissal, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman went on to tweet that he was not personally responsible for Talia being fired. Or was he?

Tweeted the CEO: ‘I’ve not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me.’

Curious I also did a bit of snooping around and I came across this page belonging to Talia with row after row of picture of her seemingly surrounded with plenty of food. Delicious and plentiful food.

Which of course leads me to wonder how dire is Talia’s situation in the first place notwithstanding the dilemma of the have’s and have nots and can one still get ahead in America? A dilemma that Talia may have used to cleverly to draw sympathy to her own cause and perhaps get a few paypal donations coming her way?

And then there were these responses on social media that caught my eye. See what you think?

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  • ricciap

    I have empathy for people who are really in this kind of situation, but Talia isn’t one of them. Her posts, collected on “thats a lot of rice dot com,” show her showing off a $40 bottle of bourbon that she bought online, and making all kinds of yummy food. She even posted that she wished people would send her money so she wouldn’t have to do anything. Her plight is a scam. She’s trying to pull a Kanye.

  • elmariachimike

    And — if I may extrapolate — a company paying less than your definition of a living wage would veritably mean you’re enticing only shit employees, right? So the supply/demand still kicks in: if you’re an employer who can’t get decent help for the lower wages you’re offering… offer more money. If you’re getting decent-enough employees who eventually move up and become more valuable (and presumably better-paid) why on Earth should you change your business model?

    The interesting thing: my one-bedroom apartment rent in Northern San Diego was 1310$ one year ago. I’m not saying SF is cheap (from everything I’ve seen and heard during multiple visits, it’s quite high) but if people down here can do it — where minimum wage just went up to 10$ on 1 January — why can this goofy kid not manage? (yeah, I believe you touched on this topic)

    Working with a lot of lower-waged employees, I’ve seen how they plug through, how they provide, how they make a name for themselves… and they don’t pen “open letters” and get butthurt when it comes back on them. You want to bite the hand that feeds you? Don’t be shocked when that hand curls into a fist and punches you in the gut. You don’t like it? Move up,. move out, or build a company of your own — just like the guy to whom you wrote that letter.

    Don’t get me wrong: I DO see where you’re coming from. Good, successful companies should reward their employees well! But the ones that don’t are likely to miss out on good employees… and that will haunt them, as well. A free market works in several ways. I’m sure you know that, though!

  • elmariachimike

    So you’re just going to shrug off every valid point? That’s a great way to encourage more of this kind of cruddy behavior.

    It’s unfortunate (but your right) if you want to believe the real world bends over for somebody just because her “internets” spin looks righteous when worded properly… except that her narrative is only accurate if you throw out chunks of information.

  • thisguyovaeee

    We tell people how to spend their money every day by having minimum wage laws in the first place. I am successful enough in my field to live comfortably, and pay my employees as much as possible because I need top talent. If I just needed warm bodies sure I’d pay less, but never less that a living wage.

    Yelp is not some super villain here. They are paying minimum wage with generous healthcare and some perks, but they can do better (I’ve already said Talia’s money management sucks and this issue is also her fault). These tech companies sell us on a more utopian future and better living through technology, they should live up to their own hype and at least pay a living wage. $15/hr is still shit pay, but it’s shit pay you can live on even in SF or NYC without having to be in survival mode.

    That said, I don’t necessarily support a federal minimum wage of $15/hr, but I support at least a living wage as minimum set by cost of living in your area. In SF that would be at least $15.

  • elmariachimike

    Why pay “better” when this is the kind of employee you get?

    Why should a company who’s gotten big throw money at substandard entry-level employees?

    It’s amazing that we can sit behind a keyboard, look to somebody who’s been successful, and then tell them how to spend their money.

  • elmariachimike

    Living off a sack of rice… but instead of water or something nutritionally-redeeming she’s buying Hansen soda and bourbon? That bottle of Bulleit will run 40$ or more.

    If her math is anywhere near correct, then she has 175$ to spend all month on things other than rent and G+E — plus I’m sure 50$ (rounding down) for her phone… so she has 125$ a month to pay for any other utilities, food and sundries, makeup (who else but a penniless woman buys 20$ coffee face cream?)… and 40$ bottles of booze delivered to her work?

    O, and let’s not ignore the fact that she’s in the driver’s seat of a car in two of her photos (including a gloriously-irresponsible/illegal photo taken while driving on the freeway) so it seems logical to assume she DOES have a vehicle — which requires gas, insurance, DMV fees…

    If she’s not full of BS, then she’s simply somebody I don’t feel sorry for.

  • elmariachimike

    …or get shunned by any potential employer who’s smart enough to sidestep somebody like her.

  • Viccarr

    By the tone of her letter she already had poor coping skills. Many Millennials do. She chose the company she wanted to work for, the city she wanted to live in & the apartment she believed would make her new lifestyle happen only to be hit with the hard truth of reality. The difference between her and other millennials is they learn their lesson & grow from it instead of placing blame. Imagine what she could have accomplished if she had pooled her resources (food & lodging) with those other “starving” co-workers & waited that first year before complaining. Then again, she just isn’t the resourceful type.

  • placitas

    How dumb can you be taking an out of state job, knowing the terms and salary, and not doing some due diligence on the cost of rent in a city like SF, for God’s sake. Her whiny open letter rant now makes her toxic to other employers. Second dumb move.

  • ThomasNeidhart


  • Tom Kenny

    You can afford to buy a bottle of Bulleit bourbon and drink it in the morning no less, but can’t buy food? You buy shit to make cake, but are starving? This bitch is out of her mind. I’m a millennial, I’ve been working my ass off since I was 15 and yes it sucks. Yes I’m in debt and yes the cost of living is bullshit, but you know what, I don’t bitch about it or act like a hypocrite. This girl just sucks, for real.

  • TryToThinkFirst

    She must be related to Lena Dunham, she has that same sort of detached, hyper annoying personality.

  • thisguyovaeee

    I’m of 2 minds about this. For starters, a giant company like yelp should pay their employees more than minimum wage. $12.5/hr is minimum in SF and they should do better ,at least $15.

    THAT SAID – she seems like she was really bad at being an adult, and that is not Yelp’s fault. Many many many many people in expensive cities get by on $12.5 an hour or less.

    If she lived the responsible way i.e. getting a roommate, getting on EBT, working a 2nd or even 3rd part time job, getting another roommate, she would have gotten by. Her entitled writing style doesn’t help her case much, a low level employee thinking the CEO not giving serious thought to her public service suggestions is a big deal is not something I can take seriously. Also, yeah you have to hold the job for a year before you can get a promotion, that is normal. Job-hopping and impatience is an issue in my generation.

    However, I do think that if you work for a successful large company full time, you shouldn’t just be scraping by, you should be able to have basic security, and $15/hr can give you that on most cases.

  • D C

    VERY good benefit package, free food at work, etc etc. I hope this stunt haunts her future interviews. 6 months in, and she “deserves” a corner office and $100,000 a year, to hear her tell it.

  • D C

    entitled millennial crybaby, she deserved to be fired. 2 cats and lying about starving, look at the link in the story, she is quite the at home gourmet.

  • Hhaha.
    Yelp is a bastion of complainers who often time misrepresent the truth. In fact, Yelp profits from this and encourages this.

    Now someone complains about them as an employer and all of a sudden, it’s a “breach of conduct,” etc.

    The hypocrisy is amazing.

  • I.V. Baker

    Lol, I eat for the most part for $2.50 a day. I have lived without heat or air conditioning. I have stopped all utilities and found a place that I would afford. I also chose to leave jobs as I gained skills and could then move up in the world.

    All of the complaints this woman had are experiences that NORMAL people have. They grow better for it.

    If you do not like the wage you are paid, and your bosses will not give you a raise. GO WHERE SOMEONE WILL. If no one else will pay you more, you are not WORTH anymore than that. If you think you can make more doing something else go and do it.

    My dear goodness. STOP COMPLAINING and figure it out.

    The CEO was doing her a favor by firing her. Now she is free to get a job making more somewhere else.

  • J. Jones

    The responsibility for Talia Jane getting fired belongs to Talia Jane. In what world do the youngsters think they can attack their employer on social media without repercussions?

  • Like every story, I guess there are many sides to it. The one that I took away after reading this is that this young lady does not know how to manage her expenses. From what I read in the news, Kanye West has the same problem, so this is not about how much you earn, but how much you spend. Renting a room rather than a whole apartment could probably shave a huge chunk off that $1245 rental bill, and get her closer to her place of work.

  • Garadon II

    I hate hearing Americans whine about the struggle. Talk to me when you live in an actual garbage dump, and make 50 cents a day slugging through toxic trash trying to find salvage. You live in America. You have the internet. You work an 8 hour shift, which leaves you with another 8 hours free to study another craft online. You can go right on your computer, learn how to type faster, learn how to use software for free, and add that to your resume, and then get a higher paying job. You have temp agencies that will even look for jobs FOR you.

    Do you not understand that most of the world does not have this? They have no computers, no online schools, no $8.00 an hour jobs, none of your privileges.

    In the time it took you to write that letter, you could’ve gone online and spent some time at Khan Academy. You know what gets you out of a tough situation more effectively than whining? WORKING.

  • AlexanderMaunu

    So, an entitled brat thinks she deserves to live whatever lifestyle she wants. Wow. Her 740 dollar “bi-weekly” (LOL) t-mobile bill is proof of her ignorance. It’s called living within ones means. People aren’t entitled to cell phones. People aren’t entitled to cars. People aren’t entitled to fashion. People aren’t entitled to anything. Wanting something doesn’t mean you deserve it. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. If the cost of living somewhere is too high, move to a place it’s lower. Entitled children are pathetic, and the author is no exception.

  • Jackson

    No one making a that kind of salary could possibly afford $1250 monthly rent on her own. Get a roommate, woman. Why blame oliga-whatevers? How about those incredible California and SF taxes?

  • Crow TheRobot

    it would be just like the internet?

  • Crow TheRobot

    Eh young people get caught up in the internets especially during hard times, sure sounds a lot more like she’s just hit her limit and trying to find help but no I definitely can’t say I’m following the whole story through all accounts involved.

  • stuart1648

    If everyone who was unhappy about something posted then …..

  • krystal21

    Or maybe the post on her twitter that she posted 3 days before getting fired saying that she wishes she had a better social media presence so that people would send her money and she didn’t have to do anything? Or perhaps the fact that right after she posted the narrative and before she was fired she tweeted to asked people to repost it? Or MAYBE how she harassed her boss on Twitter begging to get fired, as in actually saying “fire me”. Why would someone do that if they weren’t trying to get fired and get donations online?

  • krystal21

    She made $12.25/hour. SF minimum wage is going up to $15/hr over the next 2 years. So…what else is it that you wanted?

  • Crow TheRobot

    Oh please because of a handful of pics?

  • krystal21

    Eating is one thing…but lying on the internet about only eating rice and bread to get people to paypal you donations is another.

  • ThomasNeidhart

    Ugh, what is it with those obnoxious “religious” people who dont at all show compassion like Christ teaches. Those types always say get a better paying job to the masses, instead of supporting a simple LIVING wage of 12-15 an hour depending on your locale,

  • krystal21

    Evidence that “bread is a luxury”? Yes…it is.

  • CharlesKGim

    Roast CHUCK is not filet mignon krystal21. Is that supposed to be evidence? lol

  • Crow TheRobot

    OMG she eats!! How DARE She!?!