It’s best to admit when you’re wrong. Otherwise, you could end up being the subject of a scathing public letter, like the one BeachMint’s board members just published in the LA Times about PandoDaily.
On July 3, tech blog PandoDaily wrote an article titled, “BeachMint board ousts founders, company returns $20 million to investors.“
(Beachmint is a celebrity-based e-commerce site)
Shortly after it was published, Business Insider learned that the article was inaccurate. Namely, Beachmint’s founders and largest shareholders said no money was being returned to investors, and both executives still held their jobs.
Rather than issue a proper retraction, PandoDaily’s founder Sarah Lacy issued a wishy-washy statement about the original report.
“At this point, I can say with certainty that our reporting was not “100% false,” but — as with most breaking news– it appears not to be 100% accurate,” Lacy wrote. “We apologise for any facts we got wrong. Specifically, it seems that Berdakin and Berman are still employed at Beachmint and that no capital has been returned, yet. This could obviously change, and we’ll continue to investigate to find out what the truth is and why so many well placed people close to the company believed with certainty last night that the founders to be ousted and $20 million in capital was getting returned.”
Lacy also suggested BeachMint CEO Diego Berdakin’s previous behaviour toward her publication made him a non-credible source.
“What makes this particular case a challenge for me is that Diego Berdakin has a history of not being completely straight with us and blasting our reporting without presenting any evidence to the contrary. So while he would certainly know if he’s still at the company or not, the fact that he’s saying the story is “100% false” is difficult for us to reconcile with extensive reporting on the health of the company and Berdakin’s track record as a source. (Note to entrepreneurs: This is why being straight with reporters is generally a good policy. It means you get the benefit of the doubt in cases like these.)”
Yesterday BeachMint’s board members and observers published a letter bashing the integrity of Lacy and PandoDaily in the LA Times. They’ve also enlisted star lawyer Lanny Davis to communicate their point of view to Lacy. Davis served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton and was appointed by former president George Bush to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
“To our employees – the entire board is truly angered on your behalf,” the board wrote. “We are equal parts sympathetic for any undue stress this has caused you and outraged at the lack of regard for you and your families.”
They went on to say that none of the board members nor BeachMint itself were contacted by PandoDaily prior to the initial, inaccurate article being published.
“Even after board members went on record to state this article had no truth to it, PandoDaily decided to write an ‘update’, not a retraction, suggesting that ‘time will prove them right,'” the letter says. “To dig into a position that is 100% untrue is simply ludicrous. Let me state as clearly as I possibly can: Time will not prove them right. Many facts of this article were inaccurate including the two assertions in the headline and no amount of time will change that.”
The letter is signed by Beachmint’s Board and observers: Bill Woodward of Anthem Ventures, Greg Waldorf of Accel Partners, Peter Sonsini of NEA, Patricia Nakache of Trinity Ventures, Damon Mintzer of eBay, Sharon Weinbar of Scale, Paul Lee of Lightbank Ventures and Matt McCall of NewWorld Ventures.
Here’s the letter in full, below.
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