On June 30, New York Times published the confession of a woman saying how Dave Mclure, founder of 500 Startups, a start-up incubator, made sexual advance on her during recruitment process in 2014. The woman told NYT that Dave had sent her a Facebook message that read, “I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you.” The woman was one of the several such women who had opened up to the NYT about sexual harassment in the Silicon Valley. When the American daily contacted 500 Startups, the incubator said that Dave “recognizes” his “mistakes” and was going through counseling to work on his “unacceptable behaviour”.
However, a day after the NYT report, Dave, who describes himself on the 500hats.com website as “Founder+trublemaker @500Startups. Joker. Nose-Picker, Part-Time Sith Lord,” wrote his confession, with a header” “I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry”.
Dave’s remorseful confession is brave as well as troublesome. Brave, because he has come out in the open to confess all the wrongs he has done to women in past and troublesome, because it shows women still have a long way to go to get due respect, even at a place as famous or posh as the Silicon Valley in the US.
Dave writes on 500hats.com, “While I’d like to believe that I’m not a bad or evil person, regardless it’s clear that some of my past actions have hurt or offended several women. And I probably deserve to be called a creep.”
— Dave McClure (@davemcclure) July 3, 2017
He goes on to confess, “I made advances towards multiple women in work-related situations, where it was clearly inappropriate. I put people in compromising and inappropriate situations, and I selfishly took advantage of those situations where I should have known better. My behavior was inexcusable and wrong.”
He also apologises to the woman who exposed him to NYT readers.
Dave details how he was first defensive when confronted with what he had done. “I didn’t have much empathy for the people I hurt and offended, and rather than face up to my own shallow motivations, I rationalized my actions and came up with reasons to find blame in others, rather than solely with me.” But, “after several tough conversations … I realized that — guess what? — *I* was the problem. I wasn’t full of goodness and light as I thought, and I needed to take a closer look at the stranger in the mirror staring back at me. Somewhere, I had lost the plot.”
Full text of Dave’s confession can be read here: https://500hats.com/im-a-creep-i-m-sorry-d2c13e996ea0
Several other women have accused Dave of sexual harassment. He has resigned from 500Startups. Dave announced this on Twitter.