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24 Women Allege Sexual Harassment By Investors, and Another VC Gets Demoted (nytimes.com) 184

An anonymous reader writes: Friday technology investor Dave McClure tweeted a link to a statement from the new CEO of the start-up incubator he co-founded which announces his demotion after engaging in "inappropriate interactions with women in the tech community." The new CEO of 500 Startups says "I sincerely apologize for the choices he made and the pain and stress they've caused people. But apologies aren't enough without meaningful actions and change. Because of this, we made the decision a few months ago to change the leadership structure at 500." Meanwhile, McClure will attend counseling "to work on changing his perspectives and preventing his previous unacceptable behavior... As much as we want to be part of the solution, we clearly have also been part of the problem."

The same day more than two dozen female entrepreneurs told the New York Times about incidents of sexual harassment in the start-up industry, "often providing corroborating messages and emails." Several women told the Times they were warned that saying anything might lead to ostracism. Chris Sacca -- whose firm invested in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Twilio, and Kickstarter -- told the Times he was grateful for the courage of the female entrepreneur who told the Times how he'd propositioned her, and Sacca also wrote in a post on Medium, "I've learned that it's often the less obvious, yet pervasive and questionable, everyday behaviors of men in our industry that collectively make it inhospitable for women... It's the unrelenting, day-to-day culture of dismissiveness that creates a continually bleak environment for women and other underrepresented groups." The article also notes that Justin Caldbeck -- accused by six different founders of making unwanted advances -- worked at three different VC firms over the last seven years. The Times also cites a 2014 admission by investor Pavel Curda that he sent two women text messages asking for sex after a networking event, adding "The new accounts underscore how sexual harassment in the tech start-up ecosystem goes beyond one firm and is pervasive and ingrained."

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24 Women Allege Sexual Harassment By Investors, and Another VC Gets Demoted

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  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday July 01, 2017 @09:43AM (#54724811) Journal

    Remember, a "VC" is someone who wants to get rich off of someone else's work and creativity. Parasites. They produce nothing but exploitation. It should not surprise that they seek to exploit everyone they meet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      VCs are just like banks: they have money which other people need for stuff. So they loan it out, albeit with a much higher interest rate. Not all of them are terrible, but many of them are.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is Finance 101 stuff. Probably most CS students never even think about taking a Finance or Econ course. If they did, maybe they'd better understand what they actually getting when they take a VC's money.

        Investments with little risk have low returns, e.g. Money Market Mutual funds. Borrow money on a credit card, you pay probably 16-25%. Borrow money from a VC, you hand over what, 90% of your company when it goes public. If you haven't already figured out why, it's because something like 9 out 10 or 99 o

        • by Anonymous Coward

          And just because I've got a vagina and a mouth doesn't mean it's on the table to raise VC with.

          Women have used their sex to get what they want since the dawn of human history. We can pretend like that doesn't happen but consider how incredibly rare it is to see a wealthy man with an ugly obese woman. If you can even find an example I assure you that it's not representative. Think that's a coincidence?

          Indeed, when you consider that women are about 52% of the population, yet their sexual attractiveness can still get them wealth and (vicarious) power, you realize they are employing a strategy of vagi

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        You forgot the part where they generally borrow that money from other people.

        Just like banks, VCs can provide a valuable service. But there's a tradoff: when they start charging more for that service than it's worth, they become parasites.

    • Everyone should read PopeRatzo's comment and understand it.

      Then think about how much better off you'd be without any of the products or services that were backed by VCs or motivated by profits.

      • Then think about how much better off you'd be without any of the products or services that were backed by VCs or motivated by profits.

        I'm not saying that profits are all bad, only that we should see them for what they are. Just as not all taxes are bad, since they allow us to have something like a civilized society with roads, indoor plumbing, common defense. It's when profits (or taxes) get beyond a certain border condition that they become socially and economically destructive..

        So, I repeat: Profits ar

        • by Kohath ( 38547 )

          ...Just as not all taxes are bad, since they allow us to have something like a civilized society... Profits are a tax on productivity.

          People work (more than the absolute minimum to survive) and invest what's left over to earn a profit. Profit is the motivation.

          We didn't build a civilized society because we wanted to pay more taxes.

          Profit is the reward for putting money and time toward a productive enterprise instead of spending it entertaining yourself.

          • Profit is the reward for putting money and time toward a productive enterprise instead of spending it entertaining yourself.

            There are other rewards as well, such as the products of such an enterprise, or a lack of hungry rioters in the streets.

            • by Kohath ( 38547 )

              There are other rewards as well, such as the products of such an enterprise, or a lack of hungry rioters in the streets.

              Yes. When people do things to earn a profit, there are direct benefits to the others involved and huge side benefits to society in general.

        • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

          No they aren't. Profits motivate productivity. What happens to a company's profits if it quits paying its workers?

          • Profits motivate productivity.

            All productivity comes from labor, and labor very rarely shares in profits.

            What happens to a company's profits if it quits paying its workers?

            It's stock price goes up.

            • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

              All productivity comes from labor, and labor very rarely shares in profits.

              So most people work for free then?

              It's stock price goes up.

              Yeah.. not for long, certainly once stockholders find out the company doesn't have anyone producing anything.

              • So most people work for free then?

                Payroll is specifically not profit. Payroll happens "above the line" and profit is what happens below the line.

                If there's one thing that the past three decades have taught us, in late-stage capitalism, profits only affect payroll negatively. Companies don't pay workers more because their profits go up, but they often make their profits go up by paying workers less.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          To claim that is the stupidity of capitalism that puts no value on peoples lives, the air they breather or the water they drink. Corporate profits are a tax on life, parasitical in action, draining the lives and efforts of human beings as well as pillaging the planets resources leaving extreme pollution in the wake. It is when profits get out of control, that action must be taken and the corrupt removed from position of governance, power and influence. The majority does not exist to feed the insane psychopa

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        Oh believe me, I understand it perfectly well. I've considered his statement and rejected it because I don't want to live in a mud hut commune like he does. Profit gives motivation to expend effort beyond subsistence levels. It also allows specialization so that we don't ALL have to spend 90% of our time grubbing for food. The internet, in fact, most of the technology stack going back to the days of early electricity, medical knowledge, transportation, and farming techniques were all motivated by people who

      • Then think about how much better off you'd be without any of the products or services that were backed by VCs or motivated by profits.

        Oh good grief. VCs are providing money with a stated goal of earning more money in return. They're hoping to get richer - it's not like they're going to walk away if they're not allowed to force female applicants to blow them.

    • Remember, a "VC" is someone who wants to get rich off of someone else's work and creativity. Parasites. They produce nothing but exploitation. It should not surprise that they seek to exploit everyone they meet.

      Just curious, where, exactly, is someone supposed to get money for developingn their new idea? The Tooth Fairy?

      A VC may be a loan shark (costs more than money from a bank, but a bank isn't going to give you $10M backed up by your title to a small suburban home), but until we get a Government Progra

      • by Kergan ( 780543 )

        You could also heavily tax extreme revenue and extreme wealth, and then pay everyone a universal income so that would-be entrepreneurs can bootstrap their business without desperately needing a big wad of money.

        • Confiscate 100% of all income from the top 1%, and you'll find you get about $1800 per month for every household in the bottom 50%. Not a basic income (at least in the US - it is well below the poverty line) and pretty much kills those who provide angel and VC funding sources (who overwhelmingly are those in the top 1%).
      • Just curious, where, exactly, is someone supposed to get money for developingn their new idea?

        It is amazing to me that you think there were no new ideas developed until the rise of capitalism.

        Late-stage capitalism has stunted people's imaginations to such an extent that now they can't even envision alternatives.

        • It is amazing to me that you think there were no new ideas developed until the rise of capitalism.

          And yet, we can see an explosion of new ideas in the late 18th century and in the 19th century. This would be right around when capitalism became well-developed and wide-spread. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

            And yet, we can see an explosion of new ideas in the late 18th century and in the 19th century.

            We also see an explosion of new ideas about 2.5million years ago among the Australopithecus. And an explosion of new ideas in the Nile delta about 6000 years ago. And in the Eastern Mediterranean around 750 BC. And in the early Renaissance.

            If you think capitalism is the only way to get new ideas in society, you lack imagination or have been utterly brainwashed. If you can't see how late-stage capitalism has a

            • The only way? No. A damn good way, probably the best way ever invented? Yes.

              If you can't see how late-stage capitalism has actually worked against the creation of new ideas and innovation

              Indeed, the utter stagnation of society today is much talked about. Well-spotted, sir.

              • The best way? The one that produced the dot-com bubble, shitty social media, and the ethos of "what's your exit strategy" before you even have a product? Because that's what VCs look at - the exit strategy. They are not in it for the long haul. They don't give a shit about customers - they just want the buy-out.
                • Point one: VC, in spite of their name, are not the be-all and end-all of capitalism. Singling out a cherry-picked example and mischaracterizing it typical of an entire class is not a good argument.

                  Point two: Okay, your position is I'm wrong, and capitalism is not the best method for advancing innovation. Therefore, you must believe that something else is better. What is it?

                  • Curiosity and experimentation out of self-interest. All the original inventions used that - no capital. Stone knives, leather tanning, cooking, bone needles for sewing, language, drawings, and later written symbols, to represent real world things, animal husbandry, farming.

                    None of these required money, which is the use of objects to represent value, another invention that was done without money to exist before it was invented.

                    BTW - Steve Wozniak developed the Apple 1 by himself - no outside funding, no St

                    • "out of self-interest". In other words, capitalism. Your first examples were before money existed, but still were made in the interest of profit; it was simply that the profit was in kind rather than in (non-existent) money. Capitalism does not require "outside funding", only the pursuit of profit. Self-funded capitalism, even when it's small amounts of money, is still capitalism.

                    • Self-interest has nothing to do with capitalism.

                      People can act in their own self-interest in communism, where promoting the common good is recognized as being in everyone's self interest.

            • You can push all of history onto a continuum, and while that is not wrong, it occludes important parts of the story. The rate of innovations has been increasing. With the rise of certain hominid species, it jumped up. With the rise of agriculture, it jumped up much further. With the rise of laws and writing, it jumped up much much further. With the rise of the printing press, it jumped up much much much much further.

              Even then, China and the Ottoman Empire had the kernel idea of the steam engine sitting

      • If you have money you have as much pussy as you want. You can have every type you want: Asian, African, Indian, White. You can have pussy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

        That's how it is.

        • And when that's all you want, you've done more than objectify women, you've objectified yourself.

          It's a very reductive form of gratification.

          • No one does it better to women than they do to themselves by allowing men to do it to them. They choose not to rise above base animal instincts and reward and procreate with the aggro scum who have the $$$. The Earth belongs to aggro disgusting scum until everything collaspes and burns from the consequences...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Bootstrap? I've launched a few ideas - some of them succeeded, some of them didn't - by getting them to prototype/proof-of-concept stage on my own. It can be done, typically, for a few tens of thousands of dollars. If you really are serious about the business, then you'll invest that over a few years of time on your own. And then you can go and start seeking angel seed funding to not only validate your idea (if someone outside your family and friends wants to toss some cash at an idea - it probably has

    • Instead of being a VC, they should have run for president. Then they wouldn't have these problems.
    • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Saturday July 01, 2017 @10:18AM (#54724925)

      It should not surprise that they seek to exploit everyone they meet.

      I think the best way to sum it up is: double standards, we haz them.

      Certainly the /. community is more aware of this sort of thing in the VC/entrepreneurship community than the general population. But this sort of thing--people in positions of power taking advantage of those over whom they wield influence--is nothing new. Perhaps there are some industries, occupations, etc. where this is more likely to occur, but it still happens all over the place.

      I was reading about a study that was carried out comparing the perceptions of, reactions to, and consequences of male educators sexually exploiting students versus female educators sexually exploiting students. The summary was that people generally tend to perceive it like this: male educator -> evil, female student -> victim; female educator -> troubled, perhaps unhappy with home life/relationship; male student -> "way to score, champ!" This extends to news coverage, trial testimony, even conviction rates and sentencing (men are far more likely to be convicted than women for the same offense and once convicted men serve considerably longer prison sentences).

      The double standards in society extend even further. For example, in a divorce the default for custody of children tends to be custody to the mother and visitation for the father. Getting joint custody or full custody to the father usually involved proving some unfitness to parent on the part of the mother. This is starting to change to a more equitable arrangement, but it is a very slow going change. Another good is example is the way that people naturally react very differently to men and women in certain roles, like daycare worker or kindergarten teacher: female daycare/kindergarten teacher -> no issues; male daycare/kindergarten teacher -> alarm bells go off for many parents (he might be a child molester, after all).

      I'll bet that there is even an element of social conditioning at play in the whole VC sexual harassment thing. Men are expected to to misbehave. Going back to the different of male/female teachers or workers interacting with young children. I'll bet that lots of parents have a talk like this with their young children: "Johnny/Jane, if your teacher ever touches your private place or makes you touch them, you need to tell mommy and daddy right away." Now, I don't know if it has been studied, but I am willing to bet that for every time this conversation happens in the context of talking to a child of a female authority figure that it happens 10 times in the context of a male authority figure. Result: children grow to expect that males will physically/sexually exploit others. Teaching that is certainly not the goal, but in the interest of protecting our children, we actually reinforce and further ingrain the stereotype.

      I don't know what the solution is, but the VC/entrepreneur sexual harassment problem is not going to be solved only in Silicon Valley.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The word to describe these double standards if "patriarchy". That's what it refers to.

        The strange thing is that while many people seem to agree with you when you state the issues as you did, if you point out that it's patriarchy and that feminism has been studying and trying to fix it for decades, some of them will throw a shit fit. It's like they have been programmed to have this Pavlovian response to any mention of feminism or feminist language, by Reddit and YouTube skeptics.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's worse than that. One of those prank TV shows made a video of a couple fighting in public. When the women was yelling at the man people were edging her on "You Go Girl!", laughing at the man, etc... When the man was yelling at the women strangers were physically getting in the man's way and trying to pick a fight with him to protect the women.

        It's everywhere that females need to be protected and that males need to be aggressive protectors. Try to find a Disney movie where that isn't true. In all th

      • (men are far more likely to be convicted than women for the same offense and once convicted men serve considerably longer prison sentences).

        And according to a certain Federal District Judge, this is right and just, because women commit crimes for less evil reasons than men do, so they deserve far lesser sentences than men for the same exact crime, which was his response to commentary on an article suggesting they should rarely receive any time, to which he strongly objected because they deserve less, not none. In stark contrast to his normally excellent and eminently reasonable comments, this coming from a sitting federal judge was shockingly s

    • That's a blanket definition with no resolution.
      Why don't you just try to tell us 'All men are pigs, it's science'?

      There is no excuse, no matter who the target is, for this insane perversion of justice, this blatant spurt of witch trials.

      "But she said it was so! And I don't like the guy anyway, so what difference does it make?"

      The true damage done is to the minds of the people who support this madness. The "thought" process involved in accepting this charade is poison for your humanity. Sure, you're trying h

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Remember, a "VC" is someone who wants to get rich off of someone else's work and creativity. Parasites. They produce nothing but exploitation. It should not surprise that they seek to exploit everyone they meet.

      A venture capitalist is also a facilitator for things of value to be created, and a venture capitalist can often provide needed capital when other economic mechanisms will not.

      Of course mentioning such details wouldn't suit your SJW agenda.

    • This is the kind of "exploitation" we're talking about:

      At a mostly male tech gathering in Las Vegas in 2009, Susan Wu, an entrepreneur and investor, said that Mr. Sacca, an investor and former Google executive, touched her face without her consent in a way that made her uncomfortable.

      That's from the article linked in the summary.

    • You know you could always refuse funding from them.

  • by TimothyHollins ( 4720957 ) on Saturday July 01, 2017 @09:53AM (#54724835)

    Wow, are you seriously telling me that people who love money over everything else in the world would behave immorally? Noooo way.

    That does not sound like the money-grubbers we have all come to respect and love (Bank of America, Fannie-Mae, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Freddie Mac)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Grab her by the pussy!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, 2017 @09:55AM (#54724845)
    1. Be rich 2. Be good looking
    • 3. Don't sexually harass anyone.

      • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Saturday July 01, 2017 @10:47AM (#54725073)

        3. Don't sexually harass anyone.

        That's a condition neither required nor necessary to get accused, and have your life ruined by that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by digitig ( 1056110 )

          It doesn't guarantee not getting accused. but it sure as hell helps.

        • It is always possible for someone to get unlucky and get lied about. But some people do like to use that as an excuse to live their life dancing ten toes over the line, and then exclaim it was not them but bad luck that got them into trouble when they stumbled just a little. Most of the "unlucky" people are far less than innocent. The fact that there are a very few people who are unlucky and innocent does not tell us anything important.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          What I don't understand is that if there is this incredibly powerful weapon (false accusations) and abusing it rarely leads to any kind of punishment, as you have stated in other posts, why is it only women using it? Why don't men say they were sexually harassed or assaulted to get ahead?

          Could it be that in fact there are consequences for false accusations?

    • 4. Never be around a woman with full audio and video being recorded, and a sign up saying so.

  • WTF does that mean?

    People in high responsibility positions like VCs tend to think they're right about things. That's not dismissiveness, that's playing the odds. Odds are, these people understand their own business better than random bystanders. The race or gender of the random bystanders doesn't change that.

    Race or gender or other difference probably makes it harder to communicate and change someone's understanding though. That's not a fault, that's humanity.

    • The culture of dismissiveness relates to people saying sexual harassment isn't rampant or doesn't happen as much in the tech industry as people say. Despite article after article, complaint after complaint, despite all the documented evidence, people, yourself included, either make excuses for why it happens or dismiss the accounts outright.

      • by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Saturday July 01, 2017 @10:12AM (#54724893) Homepage Journal
        To not believe that the problem is a serious as the media makes it out to be is not dismissive, it is an informed opinion and a valid one. Yes, there are complaints but in factories across the country workers are abused without the opportunity or ability to complain as effectively. Having worked in the sector for decades I see the problem as being grossly exaggerated by SJWs and professional complainants. That is not to say that people who do abuse other should be allowed to. You are welcome to disagree with me but the label "culture of dismissiveness" is as stupid as "Islamophobia" or "homophobia" which are both used to refer to people who are not afraid although terroristophobia might be more accurate.
        • by Kergan ( 780543 )

          And so, going by your logic, it's not that bad because it also occurs elsewhere? How is that not dismissiveness?

          It shouldn't be occurring elsewhere either. SV currently has the media's focus. Hopefully they'll embrace better ethics and become an example for other industries to follow.

          (Or maybe they'll just no longer accept to give female entrepreneurs money. What a sorry world if that's the end game.)

        • Now when do you start to realize the horrible threat this insanity is to our society and start fighting back against it?

      • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday July 01, 2017 @10:15AM (#54724903)

        The culture of dismissiveness relates to people saying sexual harassment isn't rampant or doesn't happen as much in the tech industry as people say.t.

        Because that's the nature of news and storytelling. A story of one event gets repeated 1000 times. It's still one event, not 1000. It's news because it's rare, not because it happens to everyone 50 times a day.

        Despite article after article, complaint after complaint, despite all the documented evidence, people, yourself included, either make excuses for why it happens or dismiss the accounts outright.

        Myself included in fucking what?. I neither made excuses for [sexual harassment] nor dismissed any accounts of [sexual harassment] outright or otherwise.

        Maybe people dismiss you and others like you because you casually make false accusations.

      • The culture of dismissiveness relates to people saying sexual harassment isn't rampant or doesn't happen as much in the tech industry as people say. Despite article after article, complaint after complaint,

        about people telling jokes between themselves that others are not meant to hear. And rather than simply asking politely for the people to tone it down, publicly "shaming" them so they lose their job for telling a joke between themselves.

        despite all the documented evidence, people, yourself included, either make excuses for why it happens or dismiss the accounts outright.

        Actually, I stopped reading the rant at the above break.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and I don't like it. I'd sue, but being women, they don't have any money.

  • Hi! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday July 01, 2017 @10:31AM (#54724977) Homepage

    "Hi, I'm Dave McClure. You may remember me from such investment proposals as "Shake your ass for this investment cash!" and "Why yes, your funds are in my hotel room - let's go up and fetch them...."

  • Can we please spread that out across several articles at least? That's too much apologetic bullshit to digest in one sitting.

  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Saturday July 01, 2017 @11:22AM (#54725213)
    I just don't understand these guys. I'm a guy, I've been working in IT/CS-related positions all my adult life, mostly around and with guys, no surprise there. However, every professional experience I had with female co-workers and external project partners has been very positive, successful, and exceptionally smooth. As in all aspects of life, probably not all people are exceptionally talented and I might have been very lucky to work with such women. However, I have to say, everyone willing to gamble with their professional relationships for, how to put it, non-professional reasons, is simply an idiot and not worth having contact with.
    • I'm a guy, I've been working in IT/CS-related positions all my adult life, mostly around and with guys, no surprise there.

      You're a regular schmuck dealing with regular women. You have work to do, they have work to do, and both of you realize that hooking up would be more hassle than it's worth.

      These are upper class (or aspiring upper class), privileged men and women; they live in their own world. The lives of both groups revolve around looking good, presenting themselves, and socializing at dinner parties,

    • I agree with you... don't get me wrong. I've worked in I.T. for around 20 years in small to mid-sized businesses, both more "blue collar" type manufacturing places and "white collar" marketing places. And my own experiences are the same as yours. My co-workers and I in I.T. just want to get things done and accomplish the goal of making the business run a little bit better for everybody. Female co-workers I've worked with always seemed to be on that same page, and I don't recall any of the issues you keep h

  • Then male snowflakes can run to their lawyers to claim harassment:
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017... [foxnews.com]

  • You have ultra-privileged women angling for power and wealth complaining about the fact that a bunch of arrogant, ultra-wealthy men proposition them, and the neckbeards on Slashdot getting all worked up about it. It's like the poor, starving peasants of France getting worked up about the fact that noblemen proposition noblewomen at Versailles.

    Wake up, people: the men and the women in these stories would look with nothing but contempt upon the likes of you if they even noticed that you existed.

  • Whoa! That guy must be busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.
  • I feel that the only reason why the media focuses so much on tech is that they feel we'll shrivel up and `cave'.

    I have worked with other industries (oil, finance, construction, retal). Have friends who work there. What is supposed to be happening in tech is mild compared to the daily reality in other industries. The only difference is that these guys will take the media to take a hike if they are subjected to this coverage. And they will unleash the lawyers.

    The tech industry:

    1) Has a lot of money
    2) Is mostl

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