Is Tech CEO Mark Hurd A Wannabe Pickup Artist?

A letter from Gloria Allred details the full sexual harassment allegations against former HP CEO (and current Oracle president) Mark Hurd. And some specifics lead us to believe he may be a pickup artist — or at least an aspiring one.

The letter was disclosed Thursday, more than a year after Hurd's departure from HP (which the company said was precipitated not by harassment but by his falsification of expense reports), because a court ruled that it did not contain trade secrets and thus was not subject to disclosure laws. As a result, we can now read former HP employee Jodie Fisher's account of Hurd's attempted seduction. And some sections are surprisingly familiar! Especially this bit: while in Madrid with Fisher on business, Hurd allegedly "stopped at an ATM and showed her that [his] checking account balance was over a million dollars to impress her." The old giant-ATM-receipt technique is an old pickup artist trick, as explicated in this unintentionally hilarious video — less-wealthy PUAs are advised to use fake ATM receipts to give the impression of wealth, but Hurd was lucky enough to have the real thing. Let's see what other techniques he tried.

Kino

The PUA website Fastseduction.com explains, "Kino (from 'kinesthetics') is touching. In general, mammals like to be touched, and females in particular usually really like it." She site adds that women will generally be uncomfortable with said touching and fail to reciprocate, but that men should press on. Hurd allegedly adopted a similar strategy — when Fisher (reluctantly) visited his hotel room, he put his arm over the back of the chair where she was sitting and twice "accidentally" touched her breast.

Push-pull

Says Fastseduction,

Push/pull can be described simply through the following phrase: "I like you…I don't like you…Wait, I think I like you….Nahh, I don't like you….Actually, now that I think about it, I like you! Well…I'm not sure…"

By constantly giving approval (pulling) and then taking it back (pushing), you're leaving ambiguity in your communication and driving the woman crazy.

Allred's letter accuses Hurd of the following:

At times you would behave professionally seemingly "getting" that she was not going to have sex with you. At other times, not, and you would relentlessly attempt to cajole her into having sex with you.

Negging

In a 2004 Times article, Neil Strauss wrote, "neither a compliment nor an insult, a neg holds two purposes: to momentarily lower a woman's self-esteem and to suggest an intriguing disinterest." In her letter, Allred wrote,

One of your last dinners was at Craft in Century City where you confessed that you felt like you could spend the rest of your life with her. You said you would have to see how the chemistry was in bed [...]

Here's where Hurd's game went off the rails, though — he then allegedly told Fisher that chemistry wouldn't be a problem because he "tried hard." Negging is supposed to make women work for pickup artists' approval, but Hurd appeared to be working — unsuccessfully — for Fisher's. Allred alleges that Hurd offered Fisher money and favors; pickup artists pride themselves on getting women to buy them drinks. Allred says Hurd begged Fisher for sex, or even a hug; pickup artist David D'Angelo says men should never appear needy. If Hurd was a pickup artist, he wasn't a very good one. Last year, Fisher stated that Allred's letter, which hadn't yet been released, contained many inaccuracies — it's not clear what they were, or which of her accounts of Hurd's behavior is the true one. Whatever the case, the scandal is a good reminder to PUAs everywhere: avoid practicing your creepy techniques on your employees.

Letter Airs Harassment Claims Against HP's Ex-CEO [CBS]
"Uncomfortable Dance": Here's the Sexual Harassment Letter That Got Mark Hurd Fired [AllThingsD]