SF tech executive allegedly forced assistant to sign sex ‘slave contract’

8 mins read

A San Francisco tech company’s former CEO, Christian Lanng, is facing a lawsuit accusing him of sadomasochistic-style rapes and torture.

Lanng’s accuser is identified in court documents as “Jane Doe.” 

She claims Lanng hired her as his executive assistant in Tradeshift, manipulated her into signing a sex “slave contract,” and sent her life into a “dark abyss” of “sexual horrors.” 

The lawsuit states, “This is a case about Christian Lanng, who was the powerful CEO of a billion-dollar market cap ‘unicorn’ Tradeshift, a cloud-based supply-chain software tech company—entering into a slave contract with a female employee, Jane Doe.”

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, accuses Lanng, Tradeshift, and other executives of sex trafficking, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and sexual assault.

Tradeshift denies the allegations. 

Lanng, who co-founded the tech company, was fired in September for committing “serious allegations of sexual assault and harassment.” 

Jane Doe reveals the shocking details in a 56-page suit. 

She said she entered a “24/7 slave relationship” with her “Master.” 

According to the lawsuit, the contract’s rules included: 

  • “Always be sexually available for her Master when he needs sex and to never refuse him sex even when not wearing the collar.”
  • “Worship her Master and all of his body.”
  • “Every morning to read these rules as her waking ritual to remind the Slave of her ownership and submission.”
  • “To give the Master full insight into any aspect of her life, including her phone, computer, finances and anything else.”
  • “She will endure any pleasure or pain the Master gives her while wearing the collar.”
  • “At work the slave will have freedom to use her own name and act independently as long as she remembers she is her Masters property and she is there to please him and for no other reason.”
  • “She will look pretty and inspiring to her co-workers and dress as feminine as possible, preferably in dresses or skirts.”

Jane Doe is represented by attorneys Bryan Freedman and Miles Cooley. 

The attorneys said Jane Doe was required to maintain a weight between 130-155 and always appear “as a high-end, beautiful woman.”

The lawsuit also stated Jane Doe endured years of violent rapes involving bondage. Lanng is also accused of sexually trafficking her around the world. 

Lanng took his assistant to foreign countries “under the guise of various trips for Tradeshift business,” the suit states. Tradeshift has offices in San Francisco, Denmark, Malaysia, China, Tokyo, Paris, London, and Australia.

Freedman and Cooley wrote that executives at Tradeshift knew about the abuse.

“Lanng’s horrific treatment of Jane Doe was known by and tacitly approved of by Tradeshift’s other founders,” the lawsuit claims. The alleged abuse turned “Tradeshift into a literal house of sexual horrors for her.”

According to Jane Doe, she made complaints to the company’s human resources department but was “ignored, isolated, marginalized and ultimately terminated with no explanation over the phone.” 

Lanng’s accuser believes he victimized more women. The former CEO allegedly “used his power, wealth and influence to traffic various women around the world by coercive means to satisfy his perverse, misogynistic, depraved and sexually violent proclivities.”

The former executive assistant said she suffered years of emotional and psychological stress that required her to seek medical treatment. “Jane Doe ended up bedridden and in a precarious psychological state for almost two years,” her attorneys wrote.

The lawsuit demands a jury trial.

On Wednesday, Lanng told the press that the salacious allegations are false. 

Lanng wrote in a statement issued through his spokesperson, “The claims in this lawsuit are defamatory and not reflective of my past relationship with the plaintiff. The shocking and vile claims in the lawsuit are categorically false, and I reject allegations that I subjected someone to any form of abuse during my tenure as CEO or at any other time of my life. The only details of the salacious complaint against me that are truthful are that the plaintiff and I were in a sexual relationship and that she was once employed at Tradeshift. This relationship, which predated her employment at Tradeshift, ended eight months after she joined the company.”

Lanng’s statement continued, “In 2014, I made the grave error of judgment to hire someone I was dating and with whom I was engaged in a consensual sexual relationship. While this did not constitute a violation of Tradeshift’s human resources policies, it was irresponsible to employ someone with whom I was romantically involved. I regret the decision. It was a foolish mistake that I will not repeat.”

On September 3, two days after he was fired from Tradeshift, Lanng said he left the company because of burnout.

Lanng wrote on LinkedIn, “I have spent the last four years, as many CEOs have, in constant fire drills, including Covid, down markets, and new financing rounds. I refused to quit, always finding a way, sometimes at great expense for my family or me. The result was the most severe burnout of my life. I have finally decided it is time for me to be doing something new, and in the meanwhile, spend more time with my family and myself,” Lanng wrote.

In the wake of the CEO’s firing, Tradeshift pledged to address employees’ complaints of workplace misconduct. The company’s website states, “Ensuring a safe and supportive working environment for our team is our paramount priority. Our company handbook and code of conduct outline clear behavioral expectations and policies, and all employees participate in mandatory annual training on the prevention of workplace harassment.”


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.