At what we can imagine is only the beginning of the Michael Arrington abuse allegation saga, former TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde has publicly backed Arrington in a lengthy Facebook post.
“I simply do not believe any of the allegations to be true,” says Harde.
If you haven’t been following the new about Arrington, here’s a brief rundown:
Last week, Arrington’s former girlfriend Jenn Allen posted to Facebook, claiming that Arrington has physically abused her and threatened to kill her if she every went public with it. Gawker first spotted the post, and covered it. Allen then commented on the Gawker article, making additional allegations that Arrington was guilty of rape.
Later, a couple of “former friends” of Arrington’s also spoke out on the claims, stating that it fit a pattern and Arrington had physically abused another one of his former girlfriends. One accuser called it “the worst kept rumor in the valley for years.”
Today, Arrington posted a brief response, saying that “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.”
Now, Harde has taken to Facebook to defend Arrington. Here’s her post in full:
[Photo via Heather Harde, Facebook]
As to recent allegations that have been leveled at my former business partner, Michael Arrington:
Michael recruited me to be his CEO. TechCrunch was a calling for him, not just a business venture. That he trusted me to grow it from his bedroom-based hobby to a leading media outlet speaks most authentically of his regard for women. In the five years that I worked with Michael, I can say he treated me as tough and true a business partner as one would hope to example for the field of gender studies. If anything, on more than one occasion I secretly wished that Michael trusted me less completely with tough calls for the business!
We operated TechCrunch out of Michael’s house for the first two years, so to say that I’ve seen the inner workings of Michael Arrington’s personal life is a gross understatement. As any startup, we worked long hours, and I overlapped significant blocks of time with Michael’s roommates, friends and girlfriends. I would have detected patterns of abusive physical behavior if they had been present.
During my five years at TechCrunch, there were no complaints or cases of sexual harassment or misconduct against Michael Arrington. 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.
I simply do not believe any of the allegations to be true.
“Former Friends” Jason Calacanis and Loren Feldman have been estranged from Michael Arrington longer than they ever were friends, and they are not reliable character witnesses on this matter. Jason should limit his bluffing to poker. Usurping a woman’s emotional breakdown for purposes of pursuing a personal agenda to disparage a former business partner is wrong.
I write in full support of Michael Arrington. He has done much to advance women in tech leadership, and I hope others who have similar feelings will share their direct experiences with the community. It’s important we set the record straight.