TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, one of the most influential men in Silicon Valley, is facing serious allegations of abuse and rape. Late last month, former girlfriend Jenn Allen, an entrepreneur, posted a public status update on Facebook to her 4,500 subscribers. "I loved Michael Arrington for 8+ years," she wrote. "It hurts when you love someone borderline and they can't feel anything at all for you, and threaten to murder you if you told anyone about the physical abuse — all for keeping his reputation." That allegation was followed by the dredging up of similar stories. According to Gawker, rumors of Arrington's shocking behavior toward women "have circulated almost from the time he started his career in the tech industry."
Arrington denies all of these allegations. (Read his entire statement here.)
Arrington launched TechCrunch in June 2005, and the site soon came to wield immense power. Indeed, getting written up by Arrington could make or break a new startup, and TechCrunch was acquired by AOL in 2010 for $25 million. (Arrington's ties to the site were severed in 2011 when he became head of a new AOL-backed venture capital firm named Crunchfund, though he has since returned as a regular columnist.)
So, what should we make of the allegations against Arrington? Here, a brief chronology.
Arrington leaves his job at a prestigious law firm to join a startup called RealNames. According to Cecil DeSmet Sharp, RealNames' human resources director at the time, Arrington is later investigated for an altercation with a female coworker in a hotel room. "Arrington violently threw her onto a bed and held her down so hard that she ended up with fingerprint bruises on her arms," reports Gawker.
Arrington leaves RealNames.
June 11, 2005
TechCrunch launches and quickly becomes one of the most widely read blogs in the world.
On the last night of the "Techcrunch 50" (now "TechCrunch Disrupt") event in San Francisco, Arrington is involved in an incident with then-girlfriend Meghan Asha, two unidentified sources tell Gawker. Among the dinner's attendees are entrepreneur/blog pioneer Jason Calacanis, former TechCrunch writer Paul Carr, and tech industry personality Loren Feldman, among others. Gawker reports:
The group was having fun "drunk-dialing" various friends and tech personalities, when one woman Calacanis called brought the festivities to a halt: According to two sources familiar with the call, the woman, a good friend of Asha's, told Calacanis that Arrington had attacked [his girlfriend at the time, Meghan] Asha that night, throwing her against the wall in a hotel room. [Gawker]
"It was all in good fun and [Calacanis] is suddenly white with a somber face and he's doing a lot of listening," an eyewitness tells Gawker. "When he hung up he basically said 'Holy Shit, Mike roughed up Meghan and she split.'"
Before she had left for the conference, Asha sent out this tweet:
On my way to SF! If things go well, I won't be back until October 6th. Keepin' my fingers crossed!
— Meghan Asha (@meghan) September 12, 2009
And afterwards, this one:
Leaving SF much earlier than expected. My heart once full of so much hope is sort-of breaking tonight.
— Meghan Asha (@meghan) September 16, 2009
March 28, 2013
Jenn Allen publicly accuses Arrington of domestic abuse on her Facebook account [sic throughout]:
Last post on someone i'm completely over. I've never been lonelier in my entire life. To all my friends who loved me for who I am - thank you. Power hungry people, I loved Michael Arrington for 8+ years starting when i implemented Eurekster search at the time on Techcrunch in 2006 and throughout the years i didn't know he cheated on me multiple times, then tells people it was me immediately after he did it. It hurts when you love someone borderline and they can't feel anything at all for you, and threaten to murder you if you told anyone about the physical abuse - all for keeping his reputation. The emotional abuse was equally bad. On a positive note, it can't get any worse than this and I can't get myself of this bed. [Facebook]
April 1, 2013
Gawker publishes its first Arrington story. About an hour later, Allen responds in the comments, hurling another serious allegation: "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," writes Allen. "I'll leave it up to her if she ever wants to report it or say anything."
April 2, 2013
Loren Feldman, a former friend of Arrington's who was among the attendees at the alleged TechCrunch 50 incident in 2009, publishes a video to YouTube. "Personally, I think he did it," says Feldman. "It's been the worst kept rumor in the valley for years."
April 3, 2013
Calacanis, himself a famous blogger, posts a response to Facebook. The story quickly balloons over Twitter. Although he doesn't name any names, it's clear who Calacanis is talking about: "A brilliant mind, a great writer and funny... but with a dark edge," writes Calacanis. "Now all those stories are coming out publicly and there is no victory for anyone involved. Seeing the bully finally meet his demise is just sad."
April 4, 2013
Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepeneur and TechCrunch columnist, says he's heard the same rumors concerning Arrington. Here's a tweet collected by BetaBeat:
— Vivek Wadhwa (@wadhwa) April 4, 2013
April 5, 2013
Eight days after Allen's initial Facebook post, Gawker publishes its third story in its ongoing investigation, reporting the aforementioned RealNames incident. So far, only Gawker and Betabeat have reported the Arrington news. RealNames' former CEO Keith Teare confirms to Gawker that Arrington was the subject of an internal investigation, but was found "to have done nothing wrong and was not reprimanded." Meanwhile, former TechCrunch writer Riley Duncan tells the Inquisitr that while he never saw his former boss hit anyone, "[Arrington] regularly used his height and stature to psychically intermediate others (standing over them, waving his arms around etc), and screaming and temper tantrums was a typical day in the TechCrunch office."
TechCrunch issues a response: "TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is facing very public accusations involving physical threats, assault and rape. Given his relationship with us this past year, and the culture of transparency that he helped create, we're sharing where we are at with our reporting on the story."
April 6, 2013
Meghan Asha, who declined to comment to Gawker, issues a short response via 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.
I'm focused on business and my career.
I hope we can all get back to the business of building innovative companies in the spirit of what makes this industry great. I wish everyone well who is involved. I have no further comment on the matter. [TechCrunch]
April 7, 2013
Michael Arrington responds on his blog:
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.
I know this isn't, for now, much information. I will have a full and complete response to these allegations sometime later this week. My goal will be to direct as much sunlight as possible on the issues so that the absolute truth can be known and I can begin to put my life back together.
I've also asked my attorneys to contact appropriate law enforcement agencies about these false allegations. Given the gravity of the claims, I think it's important that the police be involved in this now. [Uncrunched]
Other than Arrington's mention of the authorities, there has been no public confirmation of any official investigation into these claims.
April 8, 2013
Patrick Gallagher, a former associate of Arrington's, weighs in via a Facebook post. "I've known Mike since 1989. We went to college together, have worked together, have lived together and I have met just about every woman he has ever dated," he writes. "I have never seen him physically threaten or harm anyone, woman or man and can't imagine him doing so." Techmeme founder Gabe Rivera also comments on Gallagher's post: "Same here. Never seen physical threats or harm. Known him since 2005, seen him at various events since then, and even rented a room at his home in 2006."
April 8, 2013
Allen publicly messages Calacanis on Twitter:
@jason was about to address that as verificationof evidence in a "reinvented justice system." Mike's AWOL bc he knows the truth.
— Jenn Allen (@JennAllen) April 8, 2013