Robert Scoble, the well-known tech figure had been accused of sexually and verbally harassing women.
Scoble is basically a tech blogger. He rose to prominence as a technical evangelist at Microsoft, where he wrote blogs about the company. In 2009 he joined Rackspace for a similar job and most recently he became the entrepreneur in residence at Upload (a VR startup that recently was sued by an employee for sexual harassment claims).
Three women associated with tech had claimed that he had harassed them between 2009 and 2014. Michelle Greer, Scoble’s former colleague at Rackspace, journalist Quinn Norton and ProDay founder Sarah Kunst accused Scoble.
Journalist Quinn Norton published a medium post on Thursday titled “Robert Scoble and Me”.
Well, I’m getting on a 14 hour flight, seems the best possible time to publish this: https://t.co/82Gtmy5ed0
— Norton Auto-Updater (@quinnnorton) 19 October 2017
In her detailed post-Norton described the pain and humiliation she went through because of Scoble. She accused him first of assaulting women too drunk to consent and later of groping Norton herself in front of a crowd. According to Norton’s post, these incidents took place at the Foo camp, an annual hacker conference run by O’ Reily Media.
Founder Tim O’ Reily stated that the company banned Scoble from future events but admitted it “could have done more”.
Scoble said that he does not remember when this incident took place, but Norton reported that it happened in “the early 2010s”.
On the same day that Norton accused Scoble of misconducting, another accusation came from Michelle Greer.
Greer was a senior manager in corporate communications at Rackspace. She was responsible for providing Scoble with content for his project named “Building43”. Greer told BuzzFeed that he touched her inappropriately back in 2010 when they were in Atlanta for some tech conference.
Scoble told my friend, “He could look at me naked on VR, and do whatever he wanted to me.”
1. Apparently Scoble was sober at the time.
2. My friend is a man.
— Michelle Greer (@michellegreer) 20 October 2017
Recalling the horrible incident Greer said that one night some of the people from Rackspace went out for some drinks and Scoble touched her leg with sexual intentions.
“I remember seeing him with two drinks in his hand,” said Greer. “My boss sat next to me, and Scoble sits across from me and starts touching my leg”.
She said that she left for her room immediately and was afraid of facing him afterward. Greer was later let go by Rackspace as this incident affected her performance badly and she wasn’t able to give her best.
Rackspace after knowing the story, said, “Rackspace condemns any form of harassment. We are aware of the allegations reported in the media today and are monitoring the development of this story closely”.
ProDay founder Sarah Kunst also responded to Norton’s post and said that she had been verbally harassed by Scoble and his wife Maryam Scoble at Dent, an annual conference in Idaho back in 2014.
In 2015 Scoble posted on Facebook apologizing for his past and confessing that he was an alcoholic. He stated that he was getting help and was trying hard to be sober.
After he apologized, people actually dismissed his past and looked forward to a rather sober Scoble. However, nothing changed with Scoble.
Despite his public apologies, Scoble didn’t give up on his misconducts. Many women have come forward claiming that Scoble has harassed them even after his “Sobriety”. He has allegedly continued drinking, smoking pot and propositioning women even after they told him to stop.
Though being himself a predator, Scoble had been an advocate of women, against sexual harassment. Earlier this year he posted on Facebook complaining about the harassment women face in virtual worlds.
NASA analyst Sarah Seitz revealed in a comment on Norton’s post that Scoble has asked her for an affair, a year and a half ago. Sarah said that although she turned him down he continued to pursue her anyway.
Another woman who did not reveal her identity told TechCrunch that earlier this year at a tech conference, Scoble got really high and verbally harassed her. She said that he apologized later and offered her with career opportunities she couldn’t refuse. This lavishing act, however, forced her to stay silent.
“It made me sick to work with him, but also he was offering so much help,” she told. “As women we sometimes have to make tough choices. Do I want to call him out, or do I want to advance my career?”
It is true that Scoble is an influential person. He is in a position of power to many people in the tech industry. Therefore, his power and position force his many victims to stay quiet.
In fact, two other women have revealed that he was still behaving perversely even after publicly claiming to be sober, yet neither of them wanted to go on record, fearing the impacts.
In an interview with the USA today, he apologized for his actions, repeating his claims that his bad behavior occurred back when he’d had a drinking problem.
He told TechCrunch that he would do a live stream to address the two women who have stepped forward about his past. The live stream hasn’t come out yet.
Guy Pearson claimed that Scoble is not ashamed of his act. Pearson shared an email he received from Scoble where he said he was just waiting for his “sexual harassment story” to “play out for a few days”.
On Friday, he offered an apology on Facebook saying that he is ashamed of his past and is deeply sorry to people he has caused pain.
He who was once known for his blog, Scobleizer and was viewed as Silicon Valley’s favorite narcissist is now unfortunately famous for his inappropriate actions and speeches.
The allegations against him have ignited a fire of sexual harassment reports in the tech industry. Many victims who had stayed silent for years have now decided to report the harassment they had endured by those in power.
Venture capitalists Dave McClure, Justin Caldbeck and Chris Sacca, SoFi CEO Mike Cagney and a top Uber engineer have all been accused of sexual misbehavior.
Last week Amazon studios head Roy Price was suspended on similar allegations.