An apology is no longer sufficient, as one influencer is quickly learning.
The popular tech blogger and author Robert Scoble has resigned from the Transformation Group, a “mixed reality” consultancy, after facing scrutiny over claims of sexual harassment.
On Oct. 19, tech journalist Quinn Norton’s Medium post revealed that Scoble sexually harassed her “in the early 2010s” at O’Reilly’s Foo Camp event. Norton’s account also detailed Scoble’s advances toward an inebriated married woman who “wasn’t able to consent in any way” and “wasn’t able to walk on her own.”
Michelle Greer, Scoble’s former colleague at Rackspace, accused him of sexual harassment, as well.
“I remember seeing him with two drinks in his hand,” Greer told BuzzFeed. “My boss sat next to me, and Scoble sits across from me and starts touching my leg.” Scoble’s producer later told Greer, “I’m so sorry, my employees will never touch you again.” Greer did not pursue the matter further at the time, and Scoble did not apologize.
Greer was eventually fired from Rackspace, and she later vented on Facebook:
“I have always worked with mostly men. They know things should change. If you don’t get rid of the bad actors though, nothing changes. Women become disenfranchised and then leave. It sucks.”
Scoble “liked” the comment, to which Greer responded, “Robert Scoble, You’re a bad actor. I can’t tell you how awful I felt after working with you. Watching you like this post angered me.”
Saying I am sorry isn’t enough to undo the harm I have done. I am working to get better and giving up alcohol was just one consequence of my behavior and the work I have done but that doesn’t take back the truth of your words. My behavior has been disgusting.
Scoble has recently apologized in a USA Today interview and on Facebook:
Despite his professed sobriety for “more than two years,” TechCrunch reported that “several women” claim that Scoble sexually harassed them after he quit drinking.
Further, Redesk’s chief executive, Guy Pearson, tweeted an email exchange with Scoble. In it, Scoble says that the sexual harassment story “should play out for a few days” before he committed to a speaking gig:
— Guy Pearson (@gtlpearson) October 20, 2017
Those involved with Scoble are distancing themselves from the allegations.
Tim O’Reilly tweeted that Scoble has been banned from future events and that the Foo camp has added a code of conduct:
Yes. We banned Scoble from future events, and added a code of conduct, but we should have done more. See https://t.co/Uo39flYVOh
— Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) October 19, 2017
Transformation Group’s remaining partner, Shel Israel, is issued a blog post after Scoble’s departure and wrote:
A short while ago, Robert Scoble resigned as a partner in Transformation Group, LLC, which we started in March of this year and, with sorrow, I accepted it. His decision is related to recent revelations that Robert engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, which he has confirmed are for the most part true.
Further, he told me he is cancelling his public activities for the remainder of this year, while he focuses on dealing with his deep and troubling personal issues. He is now going to Alcoholic Anonymous and he will start seeing a psychiatrist as well. I hope this leads to him correcting his behavior in a way that is permanent.
While my heart goes out to him, it goes out more deeply to the women he has mistreated, and to his three children and particularly to his wife Maryam Ghaemmaghami Scoble.
Israel later wrote:
I have long been actively against any form of abuse, particularly sexual. When I owned a PR agency, I twice resigned lucrative accounts because of inappropriate behavior toward my female employees. My wife’s career is based on working with teens on such issues as dating violence, sexual abuse and bullying. I have spoken out recently against former friends in the tech community who were charged with sexual misbehavior.
Scoble’s resignation and apology comes amid the heightened emotions and public scrutiny mobilized by other sexual harassment claims and fallouts.
The film industry has been dealing with mounting sexual harassment scandals, after many women have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback, former Amazon Studios chief and more.
In the broadcast world, Fox News has been facing criticism since renewing former anchor Bill O’Reilly’s contract after he settled at least six sexual harassment allegations, the last one for $32 million.