The prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist Michael Arrington was accused of “physical abuse” and “rape” by a former girlfriend last week.
The accusations were made in a late-night Facebook post and a few blog comments on the media site Gawker.
Earlier this week, Arrington categorically denied the claims, saying that they were completely untrue.
He also promised to publish a more detailed response.
And now he has.
The full response paints the accuser, an entrepreneur named Jennifer Allen, as someone who wanted to continue her relationship with Arrington and was bitterly disappointed that he did not want to.
The response, which takes the form of a letter from Arrington’s attorneys to Ms. Allen, also says that some of Allen’s claims are “factually impossible.” In one case, for example, the letter says that Allen claimed to have been “raped” on a day in which Arrington was in Washington and Allen was in California. The response includes intimate photos of Allen that Allen sent Arrington the day after the alleged rape that suggest she was feeling quite warmly towards him. The response also suggests that Allen has recently tried to remove evidence that she was in California at the time of this alleged rape by removing a picture from Facebook that showed her in a San Francisco bar.
The letter suggests that Ms. Allen once faked a pregnancy in order to try to get Arrington’s attention. The story about the fake pregnancy, the letter says, came in the following email from Allen to Arrington, which was sent on May 18, 2011:
The letter says that Allen “subsequently told Michael that [she] feigned the pregnancy and abortion in order to get him to communicate with [her].” The letter does not offer proof that the pregnancy was faked, but if this case proceeds to litigation, that will presumably be relatively easy to ascertain.
In short, the letter paints a picture of Allen as “a person who is distraught at a break-up, and angered that her ex-boyfriend entered into a new relationship.” And it includes many texts and emails that support this picture and suggest that other assertions in Allen’s public postings are false.
The letter demands that Ms. Allen retract her “false and defamatory statements.”
The letter references many attachments, which are also posted on Arrington’s blog, Uncrunched.
Here is the letter:
The following letter from my attorneys was delivered to Jennifer Allen this afternoon, in response to her previous claims. I believe the letter speaks for itself.
Eric M. George
Browne George Ross
Via E-Mail and U.S. Mail
Re: Michael Arrington
Dear Ms. Allen :
I am counsel for Michael Arrington, and write you now on his behalf.
You have posted statements about Michael that are false and defamatory, and that have caused significant harm to his good name. It is my hope that you immediately will take corrective action, by retracting those statements.
I have examined your posted statements, and compared them with provable facts. This comparison shows without any doubt whatsoever that, among others, the following of your statements about Michael are false:
(1) You stated that “he was physically abusive [on] March 5th [of] last year” (April 1, 2013, 2d posting, Gawker.) “[H]e did rape me, on March 5 last year, when he invited me over to make amends from a major catastrophe a couple months prior.” (April 1, 2013, 3d posting, Gawker.)
Your twice-repeated allegation of rape/physical abuse by Michael is not only false, but factually impossible. On March 5, 2012, Michael was in Washington and you were in California. Michael’s whereabouts are confirmed by travel records and credit card statements in my possession, and your whereabouts are proven by a photo of you at a San Francisco party at 1:05 a.m. on March 6, 2012. This photo was posted online but has been removed in the past several days. (The photo, together with screenshots of your Facebook page in March 2012 before and after it was deleted, are appended hereto as Attachment A.)
(2) You stated that “March 5 last year . . . that was the last time I saw him. I reached out once to him in the past year to get my paintings back . . .” (April 1, 2013, 3d posting, Gawker.)
In fact, you attempted repeatedly to communicate with Michael – by telephone, text message and tweets comprising some 292 lines worth of data – after March 5, 2012, the date on which you have accused him of rape. (Notably, some of these items have been deleted. Given the strict privacy controls governing access to data on social networks, our access to Facebook data was consequently limited; we are confident that a complete forensic audit of your social network accounts, and those of relevant third parties, will yield further information that corroborates our timeline of events.) Just a few such communications are as follows:
• On March 6, 2012, the day following the alleged rape, you sent Michael three photographs of yourself, one with the subject line “For only you.” (See Attachment B.)
• On March 7, 2012, two days following the alleged rape, you emailed Michael proffering extensive advice about how he ought to landscape his property. (See Attachment C.)
• On March 22, 2012, seventeen days after the alleged rape, you asked Michael to invest in your start-up: “SO MUCH to do on this freaking site and app. I need to raise 3-5 Million to get this done right. Mother Fucker. You should invest, because I figured out I do have a strong business model but need the correct amount to advertise, PR, build, and make it work. Don’t even think about investing in another art startup without talking to me. I already did this better on my own than some 10 Princeton VC backed graduates . . . imagine what I could do investing the money the right way.”(See Attachment D.)
• On May 2, 2012, you asked Michael “do you want to go to a wedding with me on May 19 in Chicago? It’s also my birthday May 19.” (See Attachment E.)
• On October 3, 2012, you sent three successive SMS messages to Michael: (i) “How are you”; (ii) “o_O” (iii) “Hi”. (See Attachment F.)
(3) You stated that he engaged in “physical abuse” and “emotional abuse” of you, and “threaten[ed] to murder you if you told anyone about the physical abuse.” (May 29, 2013 posting, Facebook.)
The foregoing statements of yours, as well as those set forth below, paint a starkly different picture; they do not portray you as a victim of abuse or murder threats, but rather as a person who is distraught at a break-up, and angered that her ex-boyfriend entered into a new relationship:
• On April 21, 2012, you wrote to Michael that you “feel betrayed and slighted by you, and wish I wasn’t alone since you decided to be with someone else so quickly. Not sure how I’m going to teach myself how to love and trust again.” (See Attachment G.)
• On July 21, 2012, you wrote: “Thanks for the nebulous msg. I’ll be the change I want to see in those communications skills. You, Mike seem happy with the most boring arrogant fake personalitied person on the planet, who you treat the way I should have been treated. If you can’t treat me with respect publicly, still, then you fall into the selfish whorish male prostitute category that will always hurt me during and in the end. Hope you’re enjoying the weather.” (See Attachment H.)
• In August 2012, you tweeted: “Mike @arrington last chance to reconcile. I[sic] you’re not feeling what I’m feeling, with the same heart, than [sic] fuck you.” (See Attachment I.)
(4) You stated that “[h]e raped . . . a friend of mine 5 months ago” (April 1, 2013, 2d posting, Gawker.) “The other rape victim . . . came to me, and Mike knows exactly who she is because he called her a month after a New York conference last year conference [sic] to proudly confirm he did it.” (April 1, 2013, 3d posting, Gawker.)
Your allegation that Michael raped another woman is also false. In addition to categorically denying that Michael has ever been physically abusive (let alone that he committed a rape), there is no such rape victim. Indeed, we cannot even hazard a guess as to the supposed rape victim who you twice reference, but whom you do not identify.
(5) You stated that “he already went to court for sexual harassment and/or rape while at his first law firm. . . . Mike told me stories in person about how he had a Stanford connection with the judge in his rape trial . . . .and he said he [sic] ‘I got out of my reputation being ruined thanks to a Stanford connection with the judge.'” (April 6, 2013, 4th posting, Gawker.)
Your allegation that Michael raped yet a third woman is also false. Again, and in addition to categorically denying that Michael has ever been physically abusive, there is no such rape victim. Nor is there any truth whatsoever to any element of this fantastical story involving a rape, a trial, connections with a judge, or anything else you have suggested in your posting.
The falsity of the foregoing (among many other statements) is confirmed by four people who lived or worked at Michael’s house during the time period that you and he were dating. Heather Harde has publicly stated: “I would have detected patterns of abusive physical behaviour if they had been present. . . . I simply do not believe any of the allegations to be true. . . . It’s important we set the record straight.” Nik Cubrilovic has publicly stated: “I lived in the same house as Arrington for the entire time he dated Jenn. I never once saw even a hint of physical abuse.” Gabe Rivera has publicly stated that he had “[n]ever seen physical threats or harm.” Nick Gonzalez has publicly stated: “Mike was never physically abusive to anyone.” (See Attachment J.)
Nor can there be any question as to your foregoing statements’ defamatory nature. Each such statement purports to describe facts that, if accepted by a reader as true, injure Michael’s reputation so “as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.” Right-Price Recreation, LLC v. Connells Prairie Community Council, 146 Wash. 2d 370, 382 (2002).
Very regrettably, your actions here appear all too similar to your actions on May 18, 2011, when you emailed Michael that you were pregnant and were planning on having an abortion the following day (which was your birthday). You subsequently told Michael that you feigned the pregnancy and abortion in order to get him to communicate with you. (See Attachment K.)
Sadly, while making false allegations of rape, your response to statements made by disinterested third parties in Michael’s defence include an irrational attack on an actual rape victim who you accuse of “hurt[ing] women and victims of violence.” (See Attachment L.)
Please consider this letter to constitute a demand for an immediate retraction by you of each of the previous statements. I would appreciate the courtesy of your written response to this demand no later than close of business Monday, April 15, 2013. Indeed, failing a response by you that unconditionally retracts your false and defamatory statements, you will have left us with no choice but to proceed with legal action against you. Litigation is an absolute last resort for Michael, but we will pursue all options to undo the reputational injury caused by your misconduct. As that is our sole objective, to the extent any legal proceedings become necessary, Michael has pledged to donate to charity all amounts recovered.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Eric M. George