Despite the suggestion that everyone is too afraid to talk about the former TechCrunch overlord, over the last week and a half there has been a lot of talking about Michael Arrington and the allegations (now denied by Arrington) that he has a history of abusing women. Arrington himself denied all of the allegations over the weekend on his blog Uncrunched and said he planned to take legal action against people who had made them. "There have been some extremely serious and criminal allegations against me over the last week. All of the allegations are completely untrue, and I’ve hired a law firm to represent me in the legal actions against the offending parties," he wrote.
So far, the messy narrative of what is going on has been driven by things people have said. But strewn across Facebook, stories, YouTube, on Facebook, blog comments, and Twitter, it has been difficult to keep track of everything that has been said. In order to get some clarity of where these serious allegations stand, we've arranged all the information from Arrington and those who've known him. Did we miss something? Please email me and we will update.
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The Denials: In addition to Arrington's blanket statement, Nik Cubrilovic, a friend of Arrington's claims he lived with Arrington when he and Allen dated. "I never once saw even a hint of physical abuse, let alone rape or any of the other things that have been suggested," he wrote on GitHub. He also claims that Allen has other motivations for shaming Arrington, claiming she was "extremely attached to him and jealous of his new relationships." Cubrilovic also emailed Gawker's Adrian Chen to claim, "The story is that Mike completely cut her off around the middle of last year and wouldn't respond to emails or calls or messages anymore … It took 8-9 months of unanswered emails and calls and messages for her to reach her breaking point and accuse him of hitting her." Allen responded on Twitter, "You know everything I said and posted is truth and true."
Where That Leaves Things: This one is very much a case of she said, he said. Allen has chosen not to comment to reporters looking into her claims and has not provided details of the incidents she describes as abuse. That said, though Cubrilovic says he didn't see anything, it does not mean nothing happened while he wasn't with Allen and Arrington.
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That Arrington Raped Jenn Allen's Friend
The Allegations: In addition to her personal situation, Allen alleged in a comment on Gawker that a friend told her Arrington raped her. "His lies, abuse, threats and what he did to a friend of mine 5 months ago was unforgivable as well. He raped her, and she told me in person he called her to confirm he did it after the fact. I'll leave it up to her if she ever wants to report it or say anything," Allen wrote. After hearing the tales from Allen, former friend Loren Feldman gave his two cents. "I think he did it," Feldman said in a YouTube video. "Personally, I think he did it. I think he did all the things that woman spoke about."
The Denials: Arrington has denied all allegations he has abused women, and he makes it clear that applies to this one.
Where That Leaves Things: According to Allen's comment, this is a second-hand allegation. No one has directly accused Arrington of rape.
That Arrington "Roughed Up" Former Girlfriend Megan Asha
The Allegations: Two anonymous sources told Gawker that Arrington "roughed up" Asha, a Silicon Valley socialite and entrepreneur. Those words were attributed to Jason Calacanis, who, according to the report, received a phone call while out to dinner with a group of people celebrating the close of a tech conference from someone who said that Arrington threw Asha into a wall. One of Gawker's sources, who claims he or she was with Calacanis when he received the call, said, "When he hung up he basically said 'Holy Shit, Mike roughed up Meghan and she split.'" Another claimed to have spoken directly to Asha: "I've heard it straight from Meghan that Arrington abused her, and she did mention the wall-shoving incident." Calacanis confirmed that he received a call, but did not confirm the details, however in his own Facebook post that refers to but does not name Arrington, he wrote that after they became foes, "story after horrific story of unimaginable behavior were told to me in private and I said nothing."
The Denials: The most direct statement on this incident comes from Asha herself who denied the allegation in a statement to TechCrunch: "None of the claims made on my behalf over the past week are accurate. I’m not inclined to comment on my personal life, Mike and I remain friends."
Where That Leaves Things: Asha's statement is the only first-hand information about this allegation and she says it didn't happen. An anonymous source has second-hand information (claiming Asha said the incident happened) while a second anonymous source has fourth-hand information (Asha told someone who told Calacanis who told them). Calacanis has since shown little interest in further discussing the matter, tweeting: ".
@arrington & I are not friend--far from it--but I'm not interested in being dragged into this. Please let cops & courts figure it out." He also, referring to an third incident we discuss below, tweeted: "Press: I have no knowledge of what happened between @JennAllen & @arrington or @ RealNames. This is a legal case so please leave me out."
That Arrington Sexually Harrassed a Coworker at RealNames
The Allegations: In 1999, when Arrington worked at a tech firm called RealNames, another employee, with whom he had at one point dated, accused him of assaulting her in a hotel room while they were attending a conference. The director of human resources at the company, Cecile DeSmet Sharp, described the allegations and the subsequent investigation to Gawker. According to her, Arrington was guilty, even though the investigation found otherwise. "I believe he threw her onto the bed. And she started kicking and he held her down really hard," she told Gawker. She claims the unnamed coworker showed her bruises and told her what happened. An outside firm was brought into investigate the incident, which Sharp said resulted in a reprimand for Arrington, but no substantial punishment. She said, "He got his hand slapped when it should have been something more."
The Denials: The CEO of RealNames at the time, Keith Teare, who is a friend of Arrington's and went on to co-found TechCrunch with him, has confirmed that there was an allegation and investigation, but has described a different outcome in a statement he posted to Facebook and published by Gawker: "The investigation concluded that there was no behavior to answer for. Mike was never reprimanded in any way. Both parties asked for confidentiality and to date this has been honored," he wrote. Teare also criticized Sharpe for telling a false story as well as speaking about the matter at all. "Given the outcome of the investigation and the mutual desire for confidentiality I am shocked and disturbed that a former HR professional can both disclose the information and also get the fact wrong." In addition, Patrick Gallagher, another friend of Arrington who worked with him at RealNames, posted a similar defense on Facebook: "I also worked at RealNames where I was interviewed as part of an internal investigation about a sexual harassment claim from another employee that was obsessed with Mike where he was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing. The investigation actually showed that she had threatened Mike and his girlfriend at the time."
Where That Leaves Things: The woman who made the allegation declined to discuss the story. Sharp would have been in a position to know the details of the claim and she claims to have seen first-hand evidence of abuse. If she is lying, neither Teare nor Gallagher provide an explanation for why Sharp would not tell the truth.
That Everyone Hushed Up the Rumors
The Allegations: All of the above has painted a picture that Arrington is a repeat offender with a past of abuse and possibly rape. In addition both Feldman and Calacanis allude to in general stories and rumors, suggesting the situation was hushed up due to Arrington's power. "It's been the worst kept rumor in the valley for years," Feldman said, claiming he knows of other women who Arrington abused. Gawker's Chen also says he knows two journalist who have chased these rumors for years but failed because "people are scared of Mike Arrington."
The Denials: TechCrunch said it talked to two of Arrington's former girlfriends who had been connected to rumors of abuse. They named one woman, entrepreneur Rebecca Woodcock, and wrote "She tells us this is absolutely not true. The other woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, also said that there was no abuse." In addition, Heather Harde, the former CEO of TechCrunch who worked with Arrington for five years starting in 2007, arguably at the height of his power, says she had never heard rumors. "If there had been any rumors of misconduct from staff or other third parties, I would have taken the matters seriously and investigated them. Many people, including Michael’s friends and girlfriends, sought me out as a confidante for disagreements or challenges they faced with Michael, so I would have been aware of rumored bad behavior," she wrote on Facebook. She also thinks that neither Calacanis nor Feldman are very good "character witnesses" in this situation. "'Former Friends' Jason Calacanis and Loren Feldman have been estranged from Michael Arrington longer than they ever were friends," she continues.
Where That Leaves Things: As it stands, in the case of Arrington and "other women" rumors continue to be just rumors. Aside from Allen, no one is directly accusing Arrington of abuse. But that does follow another allegation of physical abuse in 1999. There is no conclusive evidence that he did or did not do anything. Arrington wrote that he would say more on the subject "sometime later this week" but he has yet to update his blog.
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