Exclusive: Ellen Pao opens up after losing high-profile gender- discrimination case

Katie Couric
Global Anchor
Exclusive: Ellen Pao opens up after losing high-profile gender- discrimination case

Watch Katie Couric's complete exclusive interview with Ellen Pao here

HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” a series about hoodie-wearing hipsters coding for cash and dreaming big in the tech world, often feels more like a freewheeling fraternity house than a buttoned-up, billionaire boys’ club.

As details of Ellen Pao’s gender-discrimination case against the prominent venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers came to light, the industry and the (mostly) men who fund it sounded as if they were a bit of both.

Pao, 45, came to the firm in 2005 as a junior partner, with a résumé that reads like a Fast Company profile. She received a BS in electrical engineering at Princeton before earning both a law degree and an MBA from Harvard.

What transpired over her seven years at the Silicon Valley giant, before Pao was eventually fired in 2012, reads like a soap opera.

Over the course of several weeks in one of the most closely watched tech trials in history, jurors heard sordid details of the alleged bad behavior that prompted Pao to file the suit, seeking as much as $100 million in damages.

There were allegations of unwanted sexual advances, all-male ski trips and uncomfortable conversations about pornography, as well as claims of retaliation against her for ending a relationship with a married coworker.

At one point, Pao said, she was told by a colleague, “Women kill the buzz.”

Kleiner had its own version of the story, including reports of Pao’s poor performance, her sense of entitlement, and the fact that she was not perceived as a team player.

On the sidelines, another drama was developing involving Pao’s husband, Buddy Fletcher, who was also beset by legal troubles, including a lawsuit he brought against the swanky apartment building where he lived in New York City and a bankruptcy at the hedge fund he ran. This led many people to question Pao’s motives and the timing of her suit.

Pao’s trial ended when a jury of six men and six women decided in favor of the firm. She had lost her case, but many felt she had won in the court of public opinion, after generating a real and frank conversation about gender in Silicon Valley.

Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn has issued a tentative ruling that Pao should pay $276,000 to her old firm to cover legal costs.  Kleiner Perkins had sought $865,000.

 

 

As she mulls over her next steps legally, Pao is not able to discuss the specific details of her case and claims, but in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric, she takes on the boys club of the tech world, discusses the role race plays in the Valley, and responds to the millions of critics and fans who followed her every move as she battled Kleiner Perkins

To learn more about Ellen Pao's story and her legal battle click below