Earlier this week, TechCrunch reported on the details of Ellen Pao’s suit against VC firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. In it, are some very cringe-worthy details about the firm and its senior partners’ treatment of Pao.
In 2006, Pao had gone to Germany with then fellow junior partner, Ajit Nazre, who apparently thought he was on Spring Break instead of a business trip. Nazre allegedly pressured Pao for sex, to which she was like, “Dude, no, you’re gross.” Not a horndog to take no for an answer, Nazre lied about his wife leaving him and got Pao to “eventually succumb” to his persistence a few times.
After Pao swiftly ended things, Nazre got all cryface and played some rather childish retaliation games (for FIVE whole years), which included “excluding her from business meetings, removing her from email discussions, failing to share information she needed for her job, blocking her from interviewing new employees, and more.”
When Pao brought up Nazre’s behavior to the higher ups, she was advised to quit her yammering or transfer to their China office if she didn’t like it. Old-fashioned managing partner Ray Lane advised her to “engage in a personal relationship with” and marry Nazre–clearly the only sensible thing for a fallen, Ivy League-educated woman to do. It’s comforting to know we’re still sending the age-old message to women of color: marry a dude or be effectively deported.
Inexplicably, Pao refused to heed both suggestions and instead suffered further harassment. Such as this incident:
“For Valentine’s Day 2007 Senior Partner Randy Komisar came into [Pao's] office and gave her a book entitled ‘The Book of Longing’ by Leonard Cohen, inscribed with a handwritten note from Mr. Komisar to Plaintiff. The book contains many sexual drawings and poems with strong sexual content. At about the same time, Mr. Komisar asked [Pao] out to a Saturday night dinner, telling Plaintiff that his wife would be out of town.”
According to the suit, when Pao complained, “she was told that it was unfair, that it would never have happened to a male partner, but that she should just accept it.” To add insult to injury, Pao got to watch Nazre, who had two years less experience than her ascend to senior partner while she was stuck in the back office, failing in her attempts to convince people of what a douchebag he was.
Pao’s suit claims that KPCB regularly discriminated against women, citing a 2011 conversation with Randy Komisar, who told Pao that “the personalities of women do not lead to success at KPCB, because women are quiet.”
That’s right, we are. I dunno how Joan Rivers ever won Celebrity Apprentice. Everyone knows she’s quiet as a botox-injected lab rat.
Also in 2011, KCPB partners organized two Boys Club dinners from which women employees were excluded due to the incontrovertible, well-known fact that they “kill the buzz,” according to partner Chi-Hua Chien. Oh, Chi-Hua. If you think that a beautiful, smart woman like Ellen Pao would kill your buzz, then you are probably just a social reject who shits his pants a wittle bit when forced to converse with a woman. Get a grip.
Anyway, Ellen Pao doesn’t deserve any of this bullfuckingcrappery (new word, kids). I really hope she wins the suit and shows the boys club exactly how “quiet” women are. And all of you VC firms out there who think you can get away with gender discrimination, consider whether you’ve got an Ellen Pao in your ranks, ready to expose you for the wankfaces you are.
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