- Shervin Pishevar, a well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist who has invested in Uber, Airbnb, and Tumblr, has denied allegations in a Bloomberg report that he engaged in sexual misconduct with multiple women.
- Pishevar says he is the victim of a smear campaign.
- A spokesman described the allegations as “anonymous and untrue” and said one was “directly refuted by an eyewitness.”
- Separately, he was arrested in London on May 27 following a rape allegation but released without charges when the police decided the case would not stand up.
- He took out an injunction to stop UK media from reporting on the arrest. The case also featured a mysterious police report that authorities later said was not genuine.
The Uber investor Shervin Pishevar on Friday denied a report published by Bloomberg in which five women said he sexually harassed or assaulted them.
The women told Bloomberg that the Silicon Valley venture capitalist used his position of power to pursue unwanted relationships.
A representative for Pishevar told Business Insider the story was not true. “Shervin Pishevar is the victim of an organised smear campaign,” the person said. “Now, anonymous and untrue stories have suddenly surfaced concerning Mr. Pishevar. The assertions regarding the only person named have now been directly refuted by an eyewitness to the claimed events.” (The full statement is at the bottom of this article.)
Austin Geidt,Uber’s fourth employee, is named in the report. She was not among the women who spoke with Bloomberg, but several Uber employees told the news service they saw Pishevar put his hand on her leg and move it up her dress at a company Christmas party in December 2014. Pishevar attended the party with a pony on a leash that was wearing a Santa hat, the sources said. Geidt “squirmed away,” Bloomberg said.
Pishevar denies the allegation. The Bloomberg story described a different source as saying he “wouldn’t have been able to touch Geidt because he was holding the pony’s leash in one hand and a drink in the other.”
Pishevar also provided some emails to Business Insider showing that Pishevar and Geidt continued to exchange friendly messages after the party. When Pishevar suggested that he and Geidt have lunch in July 2015, Geidt responded: “Yup, I’d love that.” Later, in 2016, Geidt emailed Pishevar to say, “I’m travelling a bit next week but would love to grab some coffee when I’m back if you’re around.”
Another female entrepreneur told Bloomberg that Pishevar forcibly kissed and groped her when she met him for dinner to pitch her company. Another said Pishevar showed her pictures of vaginas on his phone in a Dublin hotel room during the Web Summit conference in 2013.
Pishevar is the founding partner of Sherpa Capital, which has profited from early investments in the likes of Airbnb and Tumblr. He is also the CEO and cofounder of Virgin Hyperloop One, a tube-based transportation technology backed by Richard Branson.
The tech mogul has close links to top-level US politicians. He has reportedly given over $US500,000 (£370,000) to Democratic candidates and committees over the years, and last year he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton at his home in San Francisco, according to Bloomberg.
In an unrelated incident, Pishevar was arrested in London on May 27 after an allegation of rape at the Ned Hotel. He was never charged. The police wrote a letter saying they were not the source of a “report” into the allegation. Pishevar took an injunction out in London that prevented at least one UK publication, The Sun, from reporting on the arrest.
Earlier this month, Pishevar sued a research firm run by Republican campaign veterans. He accused it of spreading false information about him, including the story about the incident at The Ned.
Pishevar’s public-relations representative, Mark Fabiani, provided Business Insider with the following statement:
“Shervin Pishevar is the victim of an organised smear campaign, which so far has involved the fabrication of a London ‘police report’. Now, anonymous and untrue stories have suddenly surfaced concerning Mr. Pishevar. The assertions regarding the only person named have now been directly refuted by an eyewitness to the claimed events, and there are communications sent from the named person herself to Mr. Pishevar which directly undermine any credibility being given to the claims made. Just as the London ‘police report’ turned out to be fabricated, we are confident that these anecdotes will be shown to be untrue as well. Mr. Pishevar is confident that he will be vindicated.”