Tech video blogger and Silicon Valley celebrity Robert Scoble took to his blog Wednesday to respond to allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him in recent weeks, attacking both his accusers as well as media outlets reporting on the case.
He did so “to set at least some of the record straight,” and to “address the issue head on with open and honest dialogue,” according to the post, which he proclaimed to have written against the advice of his own lawyer. The reaction of the tech community on Twitter was swift, with numerous users mocking his decision to not listen to professional legal advice.
Scoble's lawyer: No, really, I just wouldn't say anything.
Scoble: Don't worry, I've got this.
— Joshua Cohen (@heyjoshua) October 25, 2017
Robert Scoble with a treatise on why should should always follow the advice of your lawyer https://t.co/i3qFnoN4cf
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) October 25, 2017
Scoble had been a key figure in the Silicon Valley tech scene for years. Producing countless video interviews with entrepreneurs and often dishing out gushing praise for products he loved, he was for some time regarded as a kind of king-maker, sought after by startup founders looking to make headlines about their apps or services. However, Scoble’s star had faded in recent years as tech journalism grew up and a new generation of video bloggers reached much bigger audiences with better-produced fare on YouTube.
Allegations of sexual harassment and otherwise inappropriate behavior by him first surfaced about a week ago. Tech journalist Quinn Norton took to Medium to recount an episode at a tech conference, where Scoble allegedly touched her inappropriately, resulting in her having to physically defend herself against his uninvited advances.
Scoble initially responded to this allegation with apologies, saying that he had been struggling with alcoholism at the time. However, Techcrunch and Business Insider followed up with reports about other alleged instances of harassment, some of which happened after Scoble had become sober.
On Wednesday, Scoble called both publications “gossip blogs,” and claimed that they hadn’t investigated their allegations. He also took issue with both publications calling his alleged misconduct sexual harassment, arguing that he wasn’t in a position of power because he was not a direct superior of any of his accusers — an interpretation that is inconsistent with even the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s definition for workplace sexual harassment.
Scoble then proceeded to directly attack his accusers, claiming that they tried to use “grains of truth to sell false narrative.” He outed one of the women as an abuse survivor, while suggesting that she blackmailed him to advance his career. Scoble also claimed that Norton had physically attacked him, without responding to her claims that he had touched her inappropriately. He also thanked his wife for sticking with him, and somehow managed to add a link to his new company to all of this.
People on Twitter didn’t hold back after reading his 2400-word treatise.
Wow, Scoble rubbed napalm on his face and lit up a cigar. My favorite part is when he uses his non apology to promote his new business.
— The American Caliban (@substitute) October 25, 2017
Scoble claimed to be an authority on “mixed reality”.
Annnnnnd today he proved it. 😐https://t.co/eCUcPBj1p6
— Mark Jaquith (@markjaquith) October 25, 2017
However, at least one Twitter user noted that the responses on Scoble’s Facebook page have been remarkably different:
The Facebook comments under Robert Scoble's 'apology' are littered with men in tech congratulating him for his honesty. Toads.
— Mic Wright 🏳️🌈🌋🏴☠️ (@brokenbottleboy) October 25, 2017
Speaking of which: Scoble had used Facebook a couple of days ago to actually apologize to women he had wronged in the past, but has since deleted that post.