Michael Arrington is one of the most well-known journalists in Silicon Valley. The founder of TechCrunch, which was sold to AOL, Arrington has been declared by both Wired and Forbes to be one of the most powerful people on the Internet.
However, the 43-year-old came under some serious scrutiny recently when Gawker’s Adrian Chen published allegations claiming that Arrington was physically abusing his ex-girlfriend and her friend.
Here’s what we know about Michael Arrington.
1. Michael Arrington is a Powerhouse
Arrington is one of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley. He founded TechCrunch, which grew to become one of the most popular tech websites, and has broken dozens of major stories. Arrington sold TechCrunch to AOL in 2010 for $25 million, and it was reported that Arrington was no longer affiliated with AOL. However, that report was corrected when AOL clarified that he was working for AOL Ventures, a separate division of AOL. Arrington was rehired by AOL as a blogger for TechCrunch in October 2012 and runs his own blog as well: UnCrunched.
2. Ex-Girlfriend Jenn Allen Has Been Vocal About the Allegations
After Adrian Chen first published the allegations, accusing him of physical abuse, a commenter who claimed she was Jenn Allen said that not only was Arrington guilty of abuse, but of raping her and a friend of hers as well. Gawker was able to confirm that the individual was in fact Allen but could not confirm any of the claims Allen made.
3. Here’s What Jenn Allen Has Said
Allen has used Facebook and Twitter to talk about her allegations against Arrington. The RTist.com CEO sent the following Facebook message to her 4,500 Facebook subscribers:
Last post on someone i’m completely over. I’ve never been lonelier in my entire life. To all my friends who loved me for who I am – thank you. Power hungry people, I loved Michael Arrington for 8+ years starting when i implemented Eurekster search at the time on Techcrunch in 2006 and throughout the years i didn’t know he cheated on me multiple times, then tells people it was me immediately after he did it. It hurts when you love someone borderline and they can’t feel anything at all for you, and threaten to murder you if you told anyone about the physical abuse – all for keeping his reputation. The emotional abuse was equally bad. On a positive note, it can’t get any worse than this and I can’t get myself of this bed.
As a commenter on this article, Allen went into more detail:
I’ve looked inward and outward long enough to finally say something and know exactly why I had to say it. His lies, abuse, threats and what he did to a friend of mine 5 months ago was unforgivable as well. He raped her, and she told me in person he called her to confirm he did it after the fact. I’ll leave it up to her if she ever wants to report it or say anything. This madness needs to stop, or he needs to start controlling his rage and rape ‘disorder.’
4. Former Friends of Arrington’s Supported Allen’s Claim
Two former friends, including Jason Calacanis, who ran TechCrunch50 with Arrington, and Loren Feldman, a tech blogger, spoke out in support of Allen’s allegations of abuse and rape. Feldman posted a video on YouTube (embedded below) in which he says “It’s been the worst kept rumor in the valley for years,” adding that he knows of other women who were abused by Arrington.
Calacanis took to Facebook to talk about an unnamed “bully” that most seem to think is a reference to Arrington. In the post, Calacanis wrote:
Then story after horrific story of unimaginable behavior were told to me in private and I said nothing. Just stayed focused on my work.
Now all those stories are coming out publicly and there is no victory for anyone involved. Seeing the bully finally meet his demise is just sad. I wish I could have gotten through to the person who was, for a time, one of my favorite people.
5. Arrington Has Had Some Very Public Falling Outs With Those Former Friends
It’s worth noting that Arrington has had some extremely public falling outs with the aforementioned former friends, especially Calacanis. Some think Arrington’s relationship with Calacanis soured when Calacanis decided to trash comScore, a web analytics company, after the company started charging for analytics reports. Calacanis and others felt that comScore was asking for too much money, and that it was akin to extorting small companies that couldn’t pay the high fees. But Arrington sided with comScore, saying that comScore could charge for products because comScore is a publicly traded company and the company was the best in the analytics industry. Eventually, their relationship evolved into an online battle over the shutting down of the TechCrunch50 conference, and claims that Arrington was abusing prescription drugs.
6. Some Journalists Were Scared to Pursue the Story
According to Adrian Chen’s first post, he knows of other journalists who heard similar rumblings regarding Arrington’s alleged history of sexual and physical abuse. According to Chen:
The fact is, among tech insiders, rumors that Arrington has been abusive towards women have circled for years. I personally know of two journalists who chased these rumors, to no avail. They ran into the same problem that is responsible for the silence of the tech blogosphere today: People are scared of Mike Arrington. He is an incredibly powerful player with an unpredictable mean streak and deep connections to most of the major tech media outlets.
However, The Atlantic writes that, were this story breaking in 2007, Chen’s claim that people are too scared to go after Arrington may be true. Nowadays, Arrington mostly is just a blog post writer and a venture capitalist, investing in tech startups. He’s not the powerhouse he used to be, and the notion that journalists are afraid of him is overblown.
7. Arrington’s Friends Say the Allegations Are Completely False
Since the allegations became public, Arrington’s friends have been stepping in to defend him. Nik Cubrilovic, a friend of Arrington’s who lived with him when he was dating Allen, said he saw no evidence of any abuse and that Allen had a vendetta against Arrington, aiming to besmirch his name. In a statement to Gawker, Cubrilovic said:
The story is that Mike completely cut her off around the middle of last year and wouldn’t respond to emails or calls or messages anymore (even before it would take 5-6 messages for him to finally respond, and he only would when he was between relationships) since he started a long-term relationship and had somebody move in with him. It took 8-9 months of unanswered emails and calls and messages for her to reach her breaking point and accuse him of hitting her.
Cubrilovic made it seem that Arrington had a few other instances of women who were “obsessed with Mike,” including one that led to an investigation of assualt at RealNames, a company Arrington worked for in 1999. However, Arrington was cleared of any wrongdoing after a third-party investigation.
In addition, a number of ex-girlfriends who reportedly accused Arrington of abuse retracted their statements and have since spoken highly of Arrington as well.
8. Ex-TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde Supports Arrington Too
Heather Harde has been a close friend of Arrington since she was recruited by him to be TechCrunch’s CEO. In a Facebook post uploaded today, Harde denounces the allegations as well. Below is Harde’s post in its entirety. It was sent out to her 7,800-plus followers.
As to recent allegations that have been leveled at my former business partner, Michael Arrington:
Michael recruited me to be his CEO. TechCrunch was a calling for him, not just a business venture. That he trusted me to grow it from his bedroom-based hobby to a leading media outlet speaks most authentically of his regard for women. In the five years that I worked with Michael, I can say he treated me as tough and true a business partner as one would hope to example for the field of gender studies. If anything, on more than one occasion I secretly wished that Michael trusted me less completely with tough calls for the business!
We operated TechCrunch out of Michael’s house for the first two years, so to say that I’ve seen the inner workings of Michael Arrington’s personal life is a gross understatement. As any startup, we worked long hours, and I overlapped significant blocks of time with Michael’s roommates, friends and girlfriends. I would have detected patterns of abusive physical behavior if they had been present.
During my five years at TechCrunch, there were no complaints or cases of sexual harassment or misconduct against Michael Arrington. If there had been any rumors of misconduct from staff or other third parties, I would have taken the matters seriously and investigated them. Many people, including Michael’s friends and girlfriends, sought me out as a confidante for disagreements or challenges they faced with Michael, so I would have been aware of rumored bad behavior.
I simply do not believe any of the allegations to be true.
“Former Friends” Jason Calacanis and Loren Feldman have been estranged from Michael Arrington longer than they ever were friends, and they are not reliable character witnesses on this matter. Jason should limit his bluffing to poker. Usurping a woman’s emotional breakdown for purposes of pursuing a personal agenda to disparage a former business partner is wrong.
I write in full support of Michael Arrington. He has done much to advance women in tech leadership, and I hope others who have similar feelings will share their direct experiences with the community. It’s important we set the record straight.
9. Arrington Has Released a Statement as Well
In addition to his friends’ support, Arrington has issued his own statement regarding the allegations, denying them vehemently. The statement, posted on his blog, doesn’t say what Arrington is disputing exactly, as Gawker notes. Here’s Arrington’s statement:
There have been some extremely serious and criminal allegations against me over the last week. All of the allegations are completely untrue, and I’ve hired a law firm to represent me in the legal actions against the offending parties.
I know this isn’t, for now, much information. I will have a full and complete response to these allegations sometime later this week. My goal will be to direct as much sunlight as possible on the issues so that the absolute truth can be known and I can begin to put my life back together.
I’ve also asked my attorneys to contact appropriate law enforcement agencies about these false allegations. Given the gravity of the claims, I think it’s important that the police be involved in this now.
10. Arrington Posted A Screenshot of a Jenn Allen Facebook Post
Just a few minutes ago, Arrington posted a screenshot of a Facebook post Allen made on his Twitter account. The post, which was made on Allen’s Facebook page earlier today, claims Arrington hacked Robert Scoble’s Facebook account. Here’s Allen’s post in screenshot form (you can see it here on Facebook):
Here’s a screenshot and an embed of Arrington’s tweet:
Everything else aside, Jenn needs help, now. Someone, a friend, relative, anyone, needs to reach out. immediately. twitter.com/arrington/stat…
— Michael Arrington (@arrington) April 8, 2013
In addition, we’ve obtained the Facebook conversation Scoble and Allen had earlier today. Below are screenshots of the conversation.
We spoke to Mr. Scoble about the authenticity of the claim made by Jenn Allen on her Facebook page. Seems like Scoble wasn’t even hacked, and that all opinions were his own. Allen has since deleted the post from her Facebook page.