- Transformation Group co-founder Shel Israel announced that Robert Scoble has resigned as partner of the VR/AR startup.
- The announcement follows allegations from two women claiming that he had sexually assaulted them at tech events.
- Israel says he will run the company on his own.
The sexual harassment dominoes continue to fall as more women go public with allegations of men exploiting positions of power to sexually harass and assault them, both inside and out of the tech industry.
This time it’s famed tech evangelist and blogger Robert Scoble, who has stepped down as partner of the AR/VR startup Transformation Group, according to his co-founder Shel Israel, who announced the resignation on Facebook on Sunday.
Allegations against Scoble came to light last week after tech journalist Quinn Norton wrote that Scoble grabbed her breast and butt in 2010 during the hacker conference Foo Camp. A second woman, Michelle Greer, told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that Scoble touched her leg without her consent at a hotel bar after a tech event in Atlanta.
Scoble has reigned for years as a well-known and influential pundit in the tech industry, often embracing and promoting new technologies like Google Glass, the augmented reality glasses.
Scoble did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the allegations and announcement of his resignation. In a follow-up email to Business Insider, Scoble denied that he had resigned from Transformation Group and denied the allegations of assault.
Referring to the reports of his resignation, Scoble said that the notion that he had “stepped down” was “untrue.”
“While it is likely wishful thinking on Shel’s part, that was not the discussion we had,” Scoble said in an email to Business Insider. In a separate email, he said that “nothing has been done to dissolve that partnership.”
Responding specifically to the allegations of sexual assault, Scoble said that his interaction with Greer was “consensual” and that Norton’s allegations against him were “untrue.”
In a follow-up phone call with Business Insider, Greer stuck by her allegation.
“Was it consensual? No,” Greer told Business Insider. “I was just freaking out.”
Norton did not respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.
In a follow-up phone call with Business Insider, Israel re-affirmed that Scoble had resigned.
“I called him, requested his resignation, and he gave it to me,” Israel said. Israel said that while it was true that no formal papers had been signed to dissolve the partnership, they didn’t have a formal partnership agreement in the first place. After being alerted by Business Insider that Scoble was disputing the idea he had resigned, Israel said he was taking steps to remove Scoble from their incorporation filing with the state, and to remove him from the partnership’s bank account.
“I’m very surprised at what Robert is doing,” Israel said in response to Scoble disputing the resignation. “I don’t know why he’s doing it.”
“We are no longer partners, I can see no way we’d ever be partners again,” Israel added.
I have seen him drunk and stoned, but not recently
In his Facebook post announcing the resignation, Israel wrote that the assault allegations came as a “surprise” to him, and that he too will take a short personal break before returning to run the company on his own.
“I am grateful to Robert for removing himself from our partnership,” Israel said in the post.
“Over the past 15 years I have attended hundreds of business and social events with him. Yes, I have seen him drunk and stoned, but not recently. I never personally witnessed him behaving inappropriately toward women. If I did, I would have called him on it,” Israel continued.
Israel and Scoble founded Transformation Group in May of this year to help businesses develop their brand strategies for virtual reality and augmented reality.
Though the company is new, the founders were known for their co-authored books, including The Fourth Transformation — How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything, which came out in December. Scoble also worked for Microsoft as a tech evangelist.
Following Norton’s story, Scoble responded in an interview with USA Today, saying that the alleged incidents occurred while he was an alcoholic, and that he is now sober. However, TechCrunch reported Friday that several women shared allegations of incidents that happened after Scoble claims to have stopped drinking in 2015.
Scoble made a public apology — though he didn’t address any specific allegations — in a Facebook post Friday, two days before Israel announced his resignation. The Facebook post has since been made private.
“I’m deeply sorry to the people I’ve caused pain to. I know I have behaved in ways that were inappropriate. I apologise for that,” Scoble wrote. “The question is not if it happened or if anyone got hurt (they did) but how can I do better?”
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with comments from Scoble, Greer, and Israel.
Disclosure: Business Insider syndicated articles from Scobleizer, Robert Scoble’s blog, from 2010-2014.
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