back to article Sex harassment scandal scoops up Silicon Valley's Slimy Scoble

The rolling saga of rich and powerful men being identified as serial sexual harassers has returned to Silicon Valley, having spent a few week slicing through Hollywood. Now it's scooped up another well-known tech figure: Robert Scoble. Late last week, technology journalist Quinn Norton decided to go public with her story …

  1. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Why is it...

    That these people are always sooooo incredibly sorry about what happened

    only AFTER they've been called out on their crappy behaviour ?

    (Well, all except for Trump maybe... he seems to actually be proud of it...)

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Why is it...

      Apologies are worthless unless behavior changes. It is one thing if someone was accused of doing stuff 20 years ago and there no recent reports - apologizing for past conduct carries some weight as you could say you were wrong then, realized it, and changed for the better.

      But these people who are called out for stuff they've been doing up until it becomes public apologizing rings kind of hollow. They're not apologizing for their behavior, they're apologizing for people finding out about it.

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Why is it...

      Everyone's sorry when they get caught.

      1. John 104

        Re: Why is it...

        @Mark65

        Everyone's sorry when they get caught.

        No. They are sorry they GOT caught. Not sorry for their actions. It's pathetic.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is it...

      The whole thing works both ways. Many many years ago I once watched a girl with a Playboy© body seduce most of the upper management in a mid-sized Silicon Valley technology company. After she was done she threatened public sexual harassment charges unless she got a fat payout. She got what she wanted. I'm not saying this happens all the time, but it does happen.

      If the men are going to be prosecuted, then the women need to be prosecuted as well.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some advice from my mom...

    She once told me not to harass a girl "because she may tear off your balls & feed them to you as a way to remind you that ''No Means No''."

    1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: Some advice from my mom...

      > she may tear off your balls

      Apparently your mum was wrong; I think these arseholes have discovered that generally women do not tear off balls in this situation, and that's why they continue.

    2. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Some advice from my mom...

      Don't know about you but my mother never had to tell me to not harass women!

      It never occurred to my mum, rest her soul, that I would touch anyone inappropriately, she knew all the hard work she'd put in to bring me up properly meant that it would most likely never occur to me to behave such a way. Out of respect to everyone, I adhere without thinking to the required norms of respect for society and try to go beyond that by showing respect to all people irrespective of race, creed, gender and sexual orientation.

  3. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Flame

    "no means no" - or DOES it?

    that's a line I've heard from feminist types FOREVER - and yet, some persistent guy always seems to become her "significant other" at some point, by persistently NOT taking 'no' for an answer. GO figure.

    "The rolling saga of rich and powerful men being identified as serial sexual harassers has returned to Silicon Valley"

    it never left. Where you have self-centered men rising to a seat of power and authority, particularly over women, you get the *kinds* of abuses that have been happening since, like, FOREVER. No surprises here. That's part of human nature. And women aren't helping with the "no means no, unless it means maybe. Or even YES". My $.10 worth: just say what you F'ing mean, allright, dammit? But they don't. Unless they do.

    Sexual abuse happens in ALL aspects of power, from politics to business. The thing is, why do some women TOLERATE it?

    Yeah women *SHOULD* "tear off your balls and feed them to you" if you do the harssment (or worse, abuse). But if it didn't "work" at least SOMETIMES, then those asshat predators wouldn't DO IT SO MUCH before they're "caught". [numbers game, like spammers]

    And they're SO SORRY they GOT CAUGHT, aren't they?

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: "no means no" - or DOES it?

      Fucks sake, bob...Are you trolling? Or is this stuff really going on in your head?

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge

        Re: "no means no" - or DOES it?

        For once I'm having to defend Bombastic Bob, go and read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rules The Rules

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Somehow

          I don't think it's "feminist types" who are reading 'The Rules'.

          1. Jeremy Puddleduck

            Re: Somehow

            And you don't get to harass or sexually abuse any women, regardless of their reading material or whether they are a feminist. Bob has probably read (the picture version) of The Game and thinks the way Pick Up Artists Work is the way to deal with the wimmin. Right Bob?

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: "no means no" - or DOES it?

        For every one of these "me too" posts, there should be bloodshed and a police report.

        You really should have to fear getting your balls ripped off. You should expect the same fiery retribution that would occur if you physically accosted a guy. The victim mentality feeds itself.

        There's a basic culture problem and members of both genders feed it. "Feminists" feed it too.

    2. rmason Silver badge

      Re: "no means no" - or DOES it?

      @Bombastic Bob,

      Saying "no I won't go out with you" and having a person keep asking is not sexual assault.

      Touching someone without permission is. Give your head a wobble, you sad old man.

      What is being discussed here isn't persistence, or people "not saying what they mean" it's groping, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.

      You're an absolute disgrace.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "no means no" - or DOES it?

        @rmason It's a bit more complex than that. Repeatedly asking to go out with someone is not assault, but it is harassment.

        What's being discussed is the whole spectrum from harassment to assault, as the article notes Scoble repeatedly propositioned someone after he'd supposedly sorted out his life.

        I was asked over and over again to go out with a guy to an event as he didn't want to take his husband. The first time it was funny, probably the next couple of times too, but the thirtieth time it really wasn't particularly amusing.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Mushroom

        Re: "no means no" - or DOES it?

        Yes, there is "persistence". Some of know married couples that are married because of persistence.

        You're lumping a lot of things together and pretending they're all the same. Some have fluid non-definitions. You're part of the problem.

    3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: "no means no" - or DOES it?

      C'mon Bob, do a bit more reading around the subject, it's not difficult.

      A minority of women (and men) play the sort of games you describe, and they spoil things for everyone else. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take people at their word, whilst the minority learn to be less fucked up.

      Women 'tolerate' this sort of thing for exactly the same reason you do, when someone is in a position of power over you/physically imposing, and standing up to them will potentially cause damage to your career, life, or body. Alternatively, maybe you simply just don't have the time/inclination/energy, so it's easier to smile along/ignore them whilst thinking 'fuckwit' in your head.

    4. Jeremy Puddleduck

      Re: "no means no" - or DOES it?

      You, Bob, are a knob. No two ways about it. Women, as with men, mean no when they say no and any other interpretation is exactly the rationalisation these abusive pigs apply. Perhaps you need some therapy as well as Weinstein?

  4. anothercynic Silver badge

    I'm sorry but...

    ... is not an apology. "I'm sorry, what I did was wrong" is a *start*. This crap has to stop.

    It shouldn't be up to women to not tolerate it and to tear your balls off (to coin a phrase from a poster above). It should be the men who should keep their hands to themselves, keep their lecherous tongues in their mouths, and for God's sake, keep their twig and berries in their BLOODY UNDERWEAR unless specifically invited to liberate their libido.

    The bro culture is a *BIG* problem in this. This is frathouse behaviour. It's juvenile. Be adults and do what adults do, adulting!

    1. Notas Badoff Silver badge

      Re: I'm sorry but...

      Your last two sentences *should* be the simple complete message that everyone needs to hear and know.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm sorry but...

      That's not how the world works though. People also shouldn't murder, or steal or any of the myriad of other things that are immoral/illegal yet it happens all day. What is really infuriating is how some people continue to get away with this kind of behavior for long stretches of time since the women keep quiet. It's also a bit discouraging that a lot of these guys aren't creepy losers but have often have wives and girlfriends...

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Common Thread?

    Is there a common thread these powerful predators have that keeps people in the closet from fear? The stories sound similar enough it seems the second verse is the same as first with different names. It is as if the Stasi are bought and paid for so reporting the crimes does not good as they never get charged.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Common Thread?

      In the USA it seems to be the District Attorneys more than the police who are bought and paid for. (When the police are corrupt it's usually just that they fancy a margarita.)

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Common Thread?

      Is there a common thread these powerful predators have that keeps people in the closet from fear?

      Probably the fear that if they speak out they won't be believed and knowing that if they do speak out and aren't believed, that if the perpetrator does then ruin their lives, many will see it as their getting what they deserved.

      Speak out and risk ruining your life and career for ever. It's not really a tough call. Few people will choose to make themselves a martyr for the cause, most will choose to do what they consider best for themselves, and I can't blame them.

      Add to that "innocent until proven guilty", as it should be. There is often very little hard evidence to support a claim against someone who is powerful, often rich and respected, who most cannot imagine would need to indulge in such behaviour. It can be hard to imagine people with power will have got where they are if they are as they are accused of being.

      It becomes a balance of probabilities and our inclination is to believe the perpetrator more than the victim, to believe the victim is more likely lying than the perpetrator, has some sort of agenda, is making it up because they are aggrieved they didn't get what they wanted.

      Even where the victim may be believed we know the perpetrator's peers and friends will rally to protect them. Unless one can get past the tipping point, we all know it's pointless to try and do something about it.

      For victims it's simply easier to keep one's head down, suffer what this shit world throws at them than invite more shit being thrown.

    3. AdamWill

      Optional

      "Is there a common thread these powerful predators have that keeps people in the closet from fear?"

      To a degree your question answers itself: "powerful predators". Their power is, to a large extent, the thing they have.

      Note, for instance, that the recent accusations against Weinstein weren't the first: we're now hearing from women who complained of his behaviour before and were pressured into accepting a payoff and signing an NDA, under what appears to be considerable duress. This is the same pattern we saw with O'Reilly, for instance. Imagine you're - so far as you know - just one woman, and a very powerful person in the industry you're trying to work in has harassed / assaulted you. What do you do? Take your story to the police, where the chances of it going anywhere are fairly minute (since convictions for sexual harassment / assault are extremely rare, and women know this)? Take it to the press, and have your attacker use their extensive power and resources to drag your name and personal history through the mud in public? Take it to your attacker's employer...who, as the O'Reilly and Weinstein histories show, is likely to prioritize 'protecting' its golden goose, and pressure you to sign a gag agreement in exchange for a payoff?

      Those were really the only choices that the individual women had in these situations, for a long time. The new chapter in this story is the way journalists have figured out that there's a kind of 'critical mass' they can reach, where if they get enough victims to tell their stories - especially ones who clearly can't be accused of doing it 'for the publicity' or 'for the money', since they're already rich and famous - it's very, very difficult for the predator to resort to the old 'blame the victim' playbook. When you have fifteen, twenty, fifty or a hundred plus(!) women telling very similar stories about the same guy, it's pretty hard for anyone to believe that they're *all* making it up for some reason.

  6. Nick Z

    Dictatorship usually leads to human rights abuse

    I think it all comes down to the fact that the workplace is not a democracy.

    It's a either a tyranny, a dictatorship, or an oligarchy. And of course there is a lot of variation in how harsh or how benevolent the dictatorship is, depending on the person in charge.

    It's the power imbalance that causes people to think and feel differently and misbehave as a result of that. Some scientists go so far as to say that having power over others causes brain damage.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/07/power-causes-brain-damage/528711/?utm_source=nl-atlantic-daily-062117

    Telling people to stop it once and for all, while leaving the mechanism that causes it in place, probably won't solve this problem.

    Because this is like telling autocratic Kings and dictators to be benevolent, and leaving their dictatorship in place, rather than changing the whole government to a democracy.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Flame

    I'll take the down votes

    These predators/serial offenders should be dropped on an island together. Let them try their moves on each other...

    1. fords42
      Mushroom

      Re: I'll take the down votes

      Dirty Bar Steward Battle Royale. I'd gladly pay good money to watch that.

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    One thing that bugs me in all this...

    Every single time that one of these bastards gets caught, they claim they were sexually abused as Kids. Every time.

    Maybe they were, but I'm sorry if that was the case and then you start sexually abusing someone else, the law should come down twice as hard on you! You claim you've experienced how awful being sexually abused is, and so you know how bad it feels to be sexually abused, but then you delibrately inflict that suffering on someone else?!

    If you perform an action knowing in advance that its going to hurt or cause damage to someone, that counts as premediation for any other crime and gets punished doubly. The same should go for anyone who commits abuse after having been abused.

    Just my 2c...

    1. Alienrat

      Re: One thing that bugs me in all this...

      And it is much more likely if you were sexually abused as a kid you will go on to be an abuser.

      You are a combination of things that were done to you, your sexual behaviour and desires are based on your history and what happened, so yes, if you were abused as a kid that is bad but that is what you know of human sexual interaction.

      You can fight it because you know it is bad, and I suspect that in truth the vast majority do, but it is still there and not everyone can or will fight it - there are also various levels of damage.

      Doesn't mean we should tolerate it, but does mean we should try and understand it.

    2. thosrtanner
      Unhappy

      Re: One thing that bugs me in all this...

      I don't see why you feel the law should come down twice as hard on someone who has been conditioned to behave in a certain way. They are victims of someone else too.

      You might as well demand the punishing of someone who doesn't report someone else abusing them, because they are making it easier for the abuser to get away with it. However it is more than clear that society does exactly the opposite and people who report rape and abuse tend to at best get ignored.

      Clearly abusers shouldn't be allowed to continue abuse, but heaping further abuse on them by inappropriate levels of punishment isn't really going to help. That's likely how they got into this position in the first place.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One thing that bugs me in all this...

      I agree to a certain extent - we are all the products of our upbringing BUT we are not automatons and WE are ultimately responsible for our behaviour. Using 'I was abused as a kid' as an excuse is not good enough. You KNOW its wrong so it is your responsibility to not do it to others.

  9. IglooDude

    No does mean no, though not always for the same reason.

    For the vast majority of women, it simply means no. If there are some few women out there for whom it means 'maybe' or some variation of 'yes', then yay for them, but since I really don't like socializing* with folk that won't communicate clearly or worse play games with that sort of thing, ultimately it all boils down to the same thing: no really does mean no.

    *The fact that I'm very and happily married and not propositioning anyone anyway is presumably not relevant here, but noted anyway in case the missus happens to read this.

  10. FIA

    I really don't undertand this.

    Isn't sexual assault a crime?

    "Man grabs woman's breasts... says sorry.... isn't prosecuted" seems to be the story here.

    Can someone just put a figure on it for me. What level of cash/fame do you need before sexual assault isn't a problem? Is a cultural contribution enough (ala Polanski)?

    If I grabbed a lady in the way outlined in the article on a night out I would quite rightly expect a visit from the plod... and I bet they wouldn't be taking 'I'm sorry' as acceptable penance.

  11. JLV Silver badge

    we should thank Weinstein in a way

    That pig has lifted the taboo on shaming harassers. There's no reason anyone should have to put up with unwanted persistent sexual advances to have a job.

    And rape allegations? hard jail time if true.

    Companies should recognize the massive risks w covering up and fire proven offenders.

    That said, yes, we men 110% need those shorter feedback loops. the system should recognize that unrequited, clumsy and even (slighly) persistent (non-groping, outside of power relationship) advances and flirting are not necessarily _criminal_ sexual harassment. They are professionally unacceptable however and should be made to stop asap and put on notice.

    i.e. vent + prosecute the scum, chastise the merely unwanted, but don't bring in full-on political correctness witch hunts either.

    p.s. just to be clear: very much on the rmason side here, Bombastic Bob's post is enlightening in its stupidity and crassness.

  12. Don Pederson

    "Weinstein has so far stuck with the tried-and-tested approach as used by Bill Clinton, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart and David Vitter, among others, but it may not be working for him given the enormity and severity of the accusations against him and the willingness of more than two dozen women to go public."

    I would say that the rape accusations against Bil Clinton rise at least to the level of Weinstein's. But, somehow he is given a pass. And his wife, who rants about these issues, also gives him a pass. It is good to see that we are at a point where these guys are no longer given a pass. Bill might be getting nervous...

  13. cream wobbly

    Not clear

    "It's not clear why Norton decided to go public with her account now"

    Maybe look at the news sometime. There's a bunch of people have had enough of staying silent-demure-victim, and ... the applicability of the phrase to victims isn't lost on me ... *coming out*

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    Where do I apply? Are they accepting CVs?

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