Square's No. 2 Resigned Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

The Atlantic

Keith Rabois, the chief operating officer of Square who resigned from the payment company of the future with little public explanation late Thursday, has now revealed that he left amid allegations of sexual harassment. After an employee went to Square with the claim, Rabois quit "in order to not cause a distraction for the company," reports The Wall Street Journal's Evelyn M. Rusli. In a post on Tumblr late Friday afternoon, Rabois admitted to a "welcome" and "physical" relationship he had with an man who worked at Square that he kept secret from the rest of the company. He denies, however, that anything inappropriate happened. "I'm completely confident that all the facts will come out and I will be vindicated," he told the Journal. On Tumblr he clarifies that he had "certainly made some mistakes" but that they do not include "the horrendous things I am told I may be accused of." According to Rabois, the story is as follows:

 (1) The relationship was welcome. (2) Square did not know of the relationship before a lawsuit was threatened; it came as a complete surprise to the company. (3) He never received nor was denied any reward or benefits based on our relationship.

Rabois said that the two met before the anonymous man started at Square, that Rabois encouraged him to apply for a job, but that Rabois never supervised him once he was hired and rarely saw his work. 

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Even as Rabois prepares us for some "horrendous things," little has emerged from the other side of the story — the accuser's lawyer hasn't responded to multiple outlets. The Journal report only notes that the lawyer contacted square with the allegations and claims that Square "failed to take appropriate action." Square denied that in this statement:

We took these allegations very seriously and we immediately launched a full investigation to ascertain the facts. While we have not found evidence to support any claims, Keith exercised poor judgment that ultimately undermined his ability to remain an effective leader at Square. We accepted his resignation.

Square says one of its lawyers is currently looking into the sexual harassment claims.

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It's unclear why Rabois kept the relationship under wraps. He was involved in an infamous free speech case while a first-year law student at Stanford, where he shouted "Faggot! Hope you die of AIDS!" and "Can't wait until you die, faggot" at a lecturer. He later explained that the action was meant to prove a point about speech. "Admittedly, the comments made were not very articulate, not very intellectual nor profound," he wrote in a letter to the Stanford Daily. "The intention was for the speech to be outrageous enough to provoke a thought of 'Wow, if he can say that, I guess I can say a little more than I thought.'" The incident eventually drove him out of school, reported The New Yorker's George Packer. But that was in 1992.

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