SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE VALLEY: Ellen Pao, Accuser, Stands Up For Keith Rabois, Accused

ellen pao kpcbEllen Pao, former Kleiner Perkins partner

Photo: KPCB

On Twitter, Ellen Pao is defending Keith Rabois.Pao is the venture capitalist who accused Kleiner Perkins of retaliating against her for reporting an incident of sexual harassment after she broke off an affair with a partner.

Rabois is the Internet executive who just stepped down as COO of Square, the payments startup, after admitting to a physical relationship with an employee. 

A lawyer representing the Square employee threatened Square with a lawsuit, prompting Rabois’s resignation. While he denied wrongdoing, he admitted to the relationship and said the lawsuit would be a “distraction” to the company.

While Pao did not comment specifically on the claims against Rabois, she said he was “poised for greatness” and cited a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.:

The ultimate measure of a man is … where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Many people have drawn parallels between the Kleiner lawsuit and the Square incident.

What they both illustrate is that people working in Silicon Valley frequently mix personal and professional ties. The ferocity of work and the insularity of the technology community all but guarantee some level of in-house fraternization, and it’s rare to find policies restricting relationships, aside from when they involve a manager and a direct report.

But Pao’s support for Rabois is indicative of the high level of support he is getting from peers in the industry—even from one you might think would be sympathetic to his accuser.

Pao and Rabois attended Harvard Law School simultaneously and graduated in the same year, though it’s not clear they knew each other then. They are currently friends on Facebook. During the time Pao worked at Kleiner, the firm invested in Square. And last year, Kleiner hired away Megan Quinn, Square’s director of product, as a partner.

Here are Pao’s tweets:

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