Over the course of the past few weeks, the media world has been experiencing a bit of a wake-up call about rampant sexual harassment throughout the industry after an anonymously sourced list of allegations circulated on Google Drive. At the same time, growing numbers of women have been using the hashtag #MeToo to talk about their own experiences of harassment—including in Silicon Valley, where the culture can be so bad that allegations startup UploadVR had a “kink room” were no less disgusting, but not exactly surprising.
Now multiple women have stepped forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against former Microsoft tech evangelist and tech writer Robert Scoble, who happened to be UploadVR’s “entrepreneur-in-residence.” The accusations include several women who spoke to TechCrunch, saying the alleged incidents happened after Scoble said he went sober in 2015.
Per the BBC, journalist Quinn Norton penned a Medium post earlier this week saying Scoble had aggressively groped her at the Foo Camp tech getaway in the early 2010s. A former colleague, Michelle Greer, also said that Scoble had “made unwanted advances, touching her leg during a conference in February 2010.”
In the past, Scoble has spoken of his struggles of alcohol, saying in 2015 he had to make a change after realising his career could be headed for self-destruction. In an interview with USA Today, he said his prior history of drinking contributed to the incidents. But TechCrunch spoke to NASA analyst Sarah Seitz, who claimed that Scoble asked to have an affair with her a year and a half ago, as well as another anonymous woman who said he had gotten high and asked to make out with her at a tech conference.
In a post to Facebook, Scoble wrote a fairly boilerplate apology saying he had “damaged the trust many people had in me” and “I know that apologies are not enough and that they don’t erase the wrongs of the past or the present.”
Unfortunately, this is definitely not the last time we’re going to be hearing that kind of apology from someone in Silicon Valley. But hopefully the increased number of women speaking out about harassment in 2017 will mean fewer such incidents in the future. [BBC/TechCrunch]