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April 06, 2013

Techcrunch founder Arrington allege to have abused a bucnh of women

TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington’s History Of Abuse Allegations Includes An Assault Investigation [UPDATE] | TPM News
Arrington began his tech career in 1999, leaving a job at prestigious Silicon Valley law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati to work in business development at a new startup called RealNames, which hoped to replace complex web domain names with simple phrases. The first incident uncovered by Gawker occurred there: In late 1999, Arrington was investigated for allegedly assaulting a female RealNames sales representative, according to Cecile DeSmet Sharp, the director of human resources at RealNames at the time. The accusation stemmed from a conference that Arrington and the coworker, along with a number of other RealNames employees, attended in the fall of 1999, Sharp said. According to Sharp and another source familiar with the allegations, the coworker claimed that one night during an altercation in a hotel room, Arrington violently threw her onto a bed and held her down so hard that she ended up with fingerprint bruises on her arms. “I believe he threw her onto the bed. And she started kicking and he held her down really hard,” Sharp told Gawker. Soon after the conference, the coworker told Sharp what had happened and showed her bruises on her arm that she said were from the assault. “She felt very uncomfortable coming into the office with [Arrington] there,” Sharp said. Sharp said she told RealNames VP of administration Jim Strawbridge and CEO Keith Teare about the incident, and an outside firm was called in to conduct an investigation. The matter was complicated by the fact that Arrington and the coworker had been in an on-again-off-again relationship, according to Sharp, although they were not dating at the time of the alleged assault. The investigation reached an uncertain conclusion. Arrington was reprimanded, and a note about the incident was put in his file. But he faced no material punishment, according to Sharp.

March 29, 2013

Cosplay is not consent

Short version: Journalists at the PAX East convention, a gaming and nerd stuff event, cornered women dressed as Lara Croft and called them whores. For fun. What is wrong with these guys? PAX East Tomb Raider Video Game Cosplay Harassment Story | The Mary Sue
“At other conventions I have done more revealing costumes like Rogue, Emma Frost, Huntress, and Wonder Woman. I had always liked the Tomb Raider game, the comics and the movies. I had played the demo in SDCC this past summer and was just blown away by the graphics and just how incredible it was. I decided on Friday to wear khakis, a grey tank top and my official Tomb Raider necklace to the Tomb Raider panel.” It was at that panel Marie encouraged Wizemann to don the costume again the next day because Crystal Dynamics would be holding a cosplay event at their booth. And so she did. Wizemann was joined by several other women, making them a group of 15-31 year-old Lara Crofts. She said, “The other Laras all wore khakis, combat boots, grey tanks, had a bow and did some blood makeup. I think we were all pretty excited. We were taking pictures in the booth and then we moved out towards the walkway so that people walking by could see a group of Lara Crofts. We took more pictures and then this guy comes up and asks if he could ask a few questions. His partner had a more professional looking camera and so I think all of us just shrugged and said ok.” Wizemann had been interviewed in the past and said everything seemed normal. That is, until the interviewer asked his first question, “How does it feel to be at a convention where none of the men could please you?” In a post on her Tumblr, Marie wrote, “I couldn’t hear what he said over the hubbub of the show floor, but the confused and uncomfortable looks from the ladies indicated that it wasn’t what they expected, to say the least.” I moved in closer and inquired “Excuse me, what did you ask?” with a forced smile on my face, so to give him the benefit of the doubt. He laughed and didn’t respond, moving a few steps away as I repeated the question to the group of women. Turns out he’d probed what it felt like “knowing that none of the men in this room could please them in bed.” Yes, I’m aware it’s a poor adaptation of a gag told by a certain puppet dog with an affinity for insults. Lack of originally doesn’t excuse this behavior, however. My anger flared upon hearing this, and for a moment I almost let it get the best of me. I attempted to calm myself down before walking towards him and the cameraman, and expressing that it was rude and unprofessional to assume that these young women were comfortable discussing sexual matters on camera. I intended to leave the conversation at that, but his subsequent response escalated matters quickly and clearly illustrated that this ran much deeper than a poor attempt at humor. He proceeded to tell me that “I was one of those oversensitive feminists” and that “the girls were dressing sexy, so they were asking for it.” Yes, he pulled the “cosplay is consent” card. At this point, as he snaked off into the crowd muttering angrily at me, I was livid.