Venture capitalist and early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar has been accused of sexual harassment by six women. technology journalist and author Sarah Lacy, whose company was funded by Pishevar, joined Cheddar to respond to the the news.
“I was not surprised there were allegations, I was surprised at the physical nature of them,” she said. “I thought it was incredibly disturbing.”
Lacy drew comparisons to filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, accusations against whom opened the floodgates for recent claims of harassment in Hollywood.
Lacy, who cut ties with Pishevar long ago, says she had a hostile fallout with him and she was not surprised the story was the “least kept secret in Silicon Valley.” She says that some news organizations have been researching this case since July.
Pishevar, who also cofounded Hyperloop One, the high speed transportation project inspired by business magnate Elon Musk, reportedly made unwanted advances towards work associates that ranged from groping to forcibly kissing them to showing the staff inappropriate images.
He is the latest of many tech heavyweights who have come under fire for sexual misconduct allegations. Founders of incubator 500 Startups and VC firms DFJ and Binary Capital have all resigned in recent months. Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android operating system, announced a leave of absence from his current company this week.
While many women in Hollywood have publicly come forward to identify their aggressor, Pishevar’s accusers have mostly chosen to remain anonymous. Lacy says they have good reason to be afraid of any backlash.
“Shervin Pishevar is the biggest defender left in the investor base of [Uber’s] Emil Michael and Travis Kalanick and particularly their tactics to silence critics, which involved, in my case, the threat of a million dollars to try to destroy my family.”
Lacy has written about what she calls a “toxic” culture at Uber for years. She says that former executive Emil Michael, who was forced out in June amid HR complaints, tried to launch a smear campaign against critics, including herself.
“Every woman who is coming forward against him is incredibly brave,” she said.
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