<originally published on Medium on 25 Oct. 2017>
I got nothin’ clever to go here
So amidst the allegations, and really, really believable ones, given other witnesses, of sexual harassment against Robert Scoble, he finally released a statement.No, of that I’m innocent.
In the past week several news outlets reported that I had committed numerous sexual indiscretions against numerous…scobleizer.blog
I’m unsure how I feel. It’s equal parts rage and sadness. Rage, because given his behavior since I first started interacting with him, this kind of self-centered behavior is completely unsurprising. Disappointing, but unsurprising. Sad, because he does have a family, a wife, (who is, at least in my experience, the definition of a delightful human being, and in my wife’s opinion, is a living saint) and friends.
I get that when things are going down, it is easy to get so wrapped up in your own head that you will say things that are just flamingly stupid, that hurt people. I’ve done it, everyone has. But Scoble has done this same thing over and over. He says or does something that causes people pain for no real reason, and then when confronted with it, does the tap-dance that can be summed up as “not my fault.”
Except this time, it’s not about him being an asshole to a coworker or some random person at a company. It’s about literal sexual assault. It’s about him creating an unsafe environment in companies he worked at, and it is about his complete inability to own his actions. He can’t even start honest:
But, for the past 20 years I have made my living shining light on people, products, and issues. I am unwilling to not be that person just because people have made allegations against me. This advice from attorneys is one reason why as a community we can’t properly discuss the issues hitting our industry. When companies and individuals can’t speak out for risk that it opens them to a lawsuit it limits the responsible dialogue we can have.
It’s the lawyer’s fault? No it isn’t. Lawyers didn’t create the problems at Uber or all the other places. Lawyers didn’t create your problems. Nor did lawyers prevent anyone from acting appropriately to stop those situations from getting worse. I am not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure, based on my experience that they would have said “no, you should fire the hell out of that person who propositioned someone who works under them. Fire them now. Out of a goddamned cannon, because the go away check you’ll have to write them is nothing compared to what it will cost if you don’t fix this problem.”
I’m pretty sure the cost of firing Susan Fowler’s manager and buying her a leather jacket is not even a rounding error compared to what Uber’s corporate behavior has cost them.
The cluelessness that defines Scoble is almost incomprehensible, but he does us all a favor by showing it to us:
I recognize that these two organizations are basically just Gossip Blogs at this point, and that “If it bleeds it leads” is a way to generate click bait, but I expected more of them.
How many times in his career has Scoble’s response to being wrong been “It’ll get fixed in the comments”? How many times has he said his main priority is being first? Every once in a while, I’m worried that maybe he’s changed over the years, it’s been a while since I really talked to, or at him.
Robert Scoble has not changed.
Then there’s this:
Even the most rudimentary fact check by news outlets would have caught a few obvious things. If I were guilty of all the things said about me I would still not be in a position to have sexually harassed anyone. I don’t have employees, I don’t cut checks for investment. None of the women who came forward were ever in a position where I could make or break their careers. Sexual Harassment requires that I have such power. That is not to say that the allegations aren’t serious. I take them very seriously, but it is to say that, TechCrunch, Business Insider and others, in their rush to publish ClickBait were so obviously flawed that it is clear they no longer care about the truth or doing actual journalism.
It’s clear Scoble is not even close to listening to competent legal counsel. Because if he were, they would have told him some of the things on this page: https://sapac.umich.edu/article/63 which include:
The conduct unreasonably impacts an individual’s employment or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University community.
Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive working or learning environment or is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it affects a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity. While a person engaging in harassing behavior most often has some form of power or authority over the person being harassed, that is not always the case. The harasser can be a peer of the person being harassed. Sometimes the harasser is harassing a person who has power over them. For example, a supervisee can sexually harass a supervisor or a student can sexually harass a faculty member.
I can’t fathom a way Scoble’s never heard of this. I literally cannot. He’s been employed too long at companies like Microsoft who do things like sexual harassment prevention training to be that preciously ignorant.
Of course, he won’t speculate on their motives even as he spectulates on their motives:
Then there is the actual truth of the allegations. Each of the women who have come forward used grains of truth to sell false narrative. Perhaps because they felt peer pressure to join the #MeToo bandwagon, perhaps because they felt slighted for other reasons. I won’t speculate on their motives.
He’s literally playing the “bitter woman” trope here. Did Scoble join the red pill forums when no one was looking? Seriously, did he?
He literally accuses Sarah Seitz of blackmail and being a bitter vindictive…well, he doesn’t use the word “bitch” but he may as well have. But he’s not speculating on motives.
He’s so…so unaware of everything:
Another of the women who accused me, Sarah Kunst, is an African-American female entrepreneur. Kunst categorized a comment I made as racist at a conference we both attended. She took my asking “Why are you here” to be a question of “why are you deserving of being here.” That was not my intention at all. I tried to talk her down from this, but failed.
Given how he’s speaking here, is anyone suprised at that failure? But his shock and amazement that anyone could possibly misunderstand him is blown to hypocritical dust by this statement:
I appreciate that being an African-American female entrepreneur is hard. I also understand that many in the industry are skeptical or dismissive when they interact with someone who breaks two stereotypes of entrepreneurs [not being white or male]
If you walked up to a black woman at a conference as a white guy and asked her why she was there, (and having actually talked to Scoble in person, I can pretty much hear the tone he used), you cannot, can. not. be “surprised” that she would take great offense to that. How can anyone claim to be aware of the issues women, and especially women of color face as entrepeneurs, especially in tech and then say something as stupid as “Why are you here?” and then be surprised she was offended. What is he, Schrodinger’s Idiot? He is both an authority on “the future” and a blithering nincompoop at the same time and you don’t know which one you’re getting until you collapse the wave function?
Michelle Greer, who I worked with at Rackspace, was never in a reporting structure beneath me, and while we engaged in flirtations, the limits of the impropriety was that I was flirting with someone when I was married.
Again, no, it wasn’t. Have your lawyer explain sexual harassment law until you undertstand it. Maybe via pictures or a rebus of some kind. Oh, and this bit of backhanded victim-blaming:
We never had any interactions in a private situation and while that doesn’t mean that it is impossible for inappropriate behavior to occur, it demonstrates that at the time neither of us was ashamed of our behavior.
Out of the two of you, there’s only one person who should bear an iota of shame and it’s not her. Seriously dude, what kind of brain parasite did you pick up that told you writing that, writing any of this was a good idea. But now the creme de la creme, his version of what Quinn Norton wrote. Not his memories of what happened, but of what she wrote.
Quinn Norton, by her own account, physically accosted me. She didn’t call for conference security, she didn’t know the name of the woman I was making out with to know if we were engaged in a consensual activity. In her account of the night, she took it upon herself to decide in advance that she was going to warn me she was dangerous, and then physically attack me without knowing the story of my earlier makeout.
One of my friends was getting a bit upset, and managed to break things up by starting a conversation with the woman, but before long the pair were back at it. He came back to me, on the verge of panic, and whispered in my ear. The woman was so drunkenly disoriented that she didn’t seem to understand what was happening, and the guy kept pouring drinks for her. It was quite possibly headed towards rape. He asked me what to do, and I realized the man in question was someone powerful. I blanked and said I wasn’t sure what to do, maybe try get them apart? My friend gave me a fantastic no-duh look and went back over to them.
At one point when they were separated the man in question was standing beside me at the camp fire. The person on the other side of me nervously decided to introduce us. It went roughly: “Robert, this is Quinn Norton. Quinn, this is Robert Scoble, he’s dangerous.” Scoble laughed and quickly said he wasn’t dangerous. I looked at him, keeping a blank expression, and said “I am.”
So right there, Scoble has misrepresented what Norton wrote. According to what Quinn Norton wrote, she didn’t just march up to him and cockblock him. In fact, it was another frend of hers that initiated separating them. The “I’m dangerous” line was in response to someone introducing Scoble as dangerous, and you know what? In that situation, I understand her response, because from her POV, he was not safe. So that’s her letting him know that fucking with her is a bad idea. She even acknowledges that her POV in that situation is messed up, but she felt it was necessary.
I had learned this attitude after many years working in tech, that knowing how to deliver pain and putting everyone on notice that you would, was a way to avoid harassment. I knew this was fucked up, but it had been my normal for years.
With regard to Norton physically attacking Scoble:
And then, without any more warning, Scoble was on me. I felt one hand on my breast and his arm reaching around and grabbing my butt. Scoble is considerably bigger than I am, and I realized quickly I wasn’t going to be able to push him away. Meanwhile, the people around just watched, in what I can only imagine was stunned shock. I got a hand free and used a palm strike to the base of his chin to knock him back. It worked, he flew back and struggled to get his feet under him. I watched his feet carefully for that moment. He was unbalanced from the alcohol and I realized if he reached for me again I could pull him forward, bounce his face off my knee, then drive it into the ground. (I knew this move because it had been done to me, then the martial arts expert who did it picked me up and apologetically showed me how to do it.) He laughed and rubbed his chin and said something like “I like this one, she has spirit.” I said this: “If you touch me again I will break your nose.” I could still feel his hands on me, his intentions, all of it. He laughed again, and I repeated, “If you touch me again I will break your nose.” He didn’t grab me again after that.
According to what she wrote, (the thing he is specifically rebutting here) that is self-defense. That is not her abitrarily decking him. That is him putting his hands on another human being and it working out really badly for him. I have zero sympathy for him. As I told my son when he got decked by a girl in his class after he decided that a) he needed to scold her for leaving gum under a desk and b) tugging on her pony tail was the way to get her attention, “Don’t look at me to feel bad for you. You’re lucky she didn’t know how to fight or she’d have laid your ass out.” To his credit, he agreed that she was in the right in terms of her response, and to my knowledge, he’s never pulled a stupid-assed stunt like that again.
When you lay your hands on people without permission, you get the response you get. He’s lucky Norton stopped when she did, I can think of a number of followups that would have put his ass in the hospital and Norton would have been justified in using any of them. He literally committed assault and battery (I think, I’m never clear on battery), and now he’s pissed that she hit him back.
But that’s not enough. Of course, it’s her fault for using…social media…to tell the tale, and of course, of course for waiting <some amount of time>:
Quinn, who is a reporter, didn’t report this story for years, and she didn’t run the story in her capacity as a reporter, she chose social media with no bar for truth, and requirement that her story pass a fact check. Quinn who purports to be a champion against sexism was strangely silent. She sat on her allegations for more than 5 years.
Because Scoble is such a well-known font of fact checking and not using social media to attack people.
It gets worse:
Most telling however is that she makes it clear that her assault of me was premeditated. She planned to separate me from the woman I was making out with, she planned to scare me, and she planned to use her martial arts training to injure me.
- No it wasn’t.
- Yes she did, although not to “preserve the sanctity of marriage” as Scoble said, but to prevent someone unable to give consent from getting raped. Big difference there.
- She only hit you after you attacked her, you shapeless nincompoop.
I have been trying to internalize that as someone who has been abused that I have behaviors that are part of my survival tactics and I work to change those behaviors. I am attempting to recover from my addictions, but with regard to the immediate allegations from the article the inaccuracies make it hard to be apologetic.
Stop it. Being abused, even sexually as a child doesn’t excuse this. I have any number of friends who were, or abused in other ways, and truth told, so was I. (ain’t going into details, those who need to know do.) But when we’ve been assholes or done fucked-up shit, that was on us. We did that. Not other people. Own. Your. Shit. Same thing with addictions. The eeeeeeevil alcohol did not take an innocent angel and force him to be whatever the hell it is Scoble became when he was drunk. That was already in Scoble, the alcohol, clearly, just gave him an excuse to let it out to play. Denial is no one’s friend here.
And then, in the pinnacle of “it’s all about meee”, what does he do? In this post, what does he do? He. Pimps. His. Ride.
As part of working on myself and repairing the relationships with my family, and unrelated to the recent events, I have been working to launch a new business, and a new career. Social Media has been my life for nearly 20 years, but it encourages a lifestyle that is not healthy for me or my family. I am transitioning into a job where I can work from home much more, and travel much less. This will give me more time to spend with my wife and kids. You can learn a bit about this here: http://lightpitch.launchrock.com/
He just can’t resist it. He cannot stop doing this. Everything he writes is always about him. Which begs the question: was this really an answer to allegations, or just some long-winded stupid way to pimp his next gig?
I honestly don’t know. But I know that reading this, Scoble is still in deep denial, and until he isn’t, nothing will change.