Late last week, the New York Times published a long story about the issues with sexual harassment faced by women entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley when seeking investment from the men who hold the purse strings. Dave McClure, general partner of seed investment group 500 Startups, was one of the allegedly predatory men mentioned in the article. McClure abruptly resigned on Monday.
The Guardian reports that McClure had already stepped down from his position as Chief Executive of the company, and published a blog where he apologized for “being inappropriate,” sharing it with a tweet that reads as fairly irreverent considering the circumstances:
McClure’s post prompted entrepreneur Cheryl Sew Hoy write on her website that McClure had sexually assaulted her three years ago, alleging that his behavior goes far beyond “inappropriateness.” Hoy writes that her company worked with 500 Startups, and after a day of business she invited a group back to her apartment to socialize. She claims that McClure kept refilling her whiskey glass, and at a certain point everyone suddenly ordered and Uber and left, except for McClure:
I quickly asked if Dave wanted to order an Uber and leave like the rest of them but he said no. Perplexed, I offered him to crash on the couch or the guest room and proceeded to show him the guest room. Then I went into my own bedroom but Dave followed me there, and that’s when he first propositioned to sleep with me. I said no. I reminded Dave that he knew my then-boyfriend and that we’d just talked about him earlier that night.
At this point, I led him to the door and told him he needs to leave. Onthe way out, he pushed himself onto me to the point where I was backed into a corner, made contact to kiss me, and said something along the lines of “Just one night, please just this one time.” Then he told me how he really likes strong and smart women like me. Disgusted and outraged, I said no firmly again, pushed him away and made sure he was out my door.
500 Startups co-founder Christine Tsai announced McClure’s departure in an email to the company’s investors on Monday. In a statement to the Guardian on Hoy’s post, the company said, “We appreciate Cheryl speaking up and realize how upsetting and painful it is for her to have gone through that experience and have the courage to speak up. We can only hope our efforts in changing 500 can help create a safe and effective platform for female founders around the world.”