Chris Sacca — who retired from startup investing as well as his role on “Shark Tank” in April — wrote Thursday that he “personally contributed” to making the tech industry “inhospitable for women.”
Sacca posted the apology note after he was contacted by the Times about female entrepreneur Susan Wu’s accusation that he had touched her face without her permission at a tech event in 2009, the paper reported.
Sacca and ABC, which broadcasts “Shark Tank,” did not respond to requests from Business Insider for comment.
Wu told The Times that when Sacca touched her face, it made her feel uncomfortable. She also said she was propositioned in 2010 by Justin Caldbeck, the founder of Binary Capital, who has been accused of multiple cases of sexual harassment.
“There is such a massive imbalance of power that women in the industry often end up in distressing situations,” Wu told the Times, in response to her experiences.
Sacca did not dispute Wu’s account of his behaviour, according to the Times. He also didn’t specifically discuss it in his apology.
He did, however, tell the Times in a statement that he was “grateful to Susan and the other brave women sharing their stories. I’m confident the result of their courage will be long-overdue, lasting change.”
And in his post, Sacca apologised in a general fashion for behaving in ways that made women feel uncomfortable:
“Particularly when reflecting upon my early years in Silicon Valley, there is no doubt I said and did things that made some women feel awkward, unwelcome, insecure, and/or discouraged. In social settings, under the guise of joking, being collegial, flirting, or having a good time, I undoubtedly caused some women to question themselves, retreat, feel alone, and worry they can’t be their authentic selves. By stupidly perpetuating a culture rife with busting chops, teasing, and peer pressure to go out drinking, I made some women feel self-conscious, anxious, and fear they might not be taken seriously.”
Sacca was just one of several tech investors named by the Times in its article for behaving inappropriately toward women in the industry. In the wake of the article, 500 Startups announced that Dave McClure, its co-founder who was also named in the story, has stepped down from running the firm’s day-to-day operations.
The Times piece comes amid heightened attention to gender inequality and sexual harassment in the tech industry. Earlier in June, Travis Kalanick resigned as position as Uber’s CEO after an investigation into the company’s culture revealed multiple cases of sexual harassment at the company.
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