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  • 06.30.17

How not to be a Justin Caldbeck

Former VC and early Twitter investor Chris Sacca penned a Medium post today in response to Justin Caldbeck’s alleged harassment of female founders and employees. “I’ve learned that it’s often the less obvious, yet pervasive and questionable, everyday behaviors of men in our industry that collectively make it inhospitable for women,” he wrote. Sacca says he realized that he, too, had “personally contributed to the problem” at times: 

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. 

I am sorry. 

Sacca then outlined what he would do going forward to better advocate for women and minorities in tech, both in speech and action, and how he would check his own biases and conduct. 

I am, of course, giving Sacca the benefit of the doubt. But assuming he is being earnest and not preemptively doing damage control, this is the type of response I’d like to see more of. Outrage from men in Silicon Valley is of little use without introspection. And too often it happens after instances of harassment become public, rather than while it’s happening. Whether Sacca will keep his word and actually take tangible action remains to be seen, but this is a start. 

PM