I’m very proud to work in the tech industry. I feel like at most times, we’re collectively moving in the right direction. We’re making people’s lives better. We’re supporting progressive issues.
Could we do more? Of course. But I don’t let that ruin my feelings that we’re doing some really amazing things and setting a good example for other industries to follow.
So when it comes out that rich, powerful, men in my industry are using their position to get away with sexually harassing women, it infuriates me.
An all-too-common scenario played out over the past few days. A group of women exposed a man in power for sexually harassing them. The man said he’s sorry and he’ll get help.
I was mad when I learned what had happened. I got much angrier when I read his statement.
It’s now 2am and I can’t sleep because I’m so angry, so I thought I’d dissect the statement. I apologize in advance for my language.
Justin Caldbeck’s Statement
The past 24 hours have been the darkest of my life.
Are you kidding me? This is how you start? NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOU. The only acceptable way to start this statement is with the words “I’m so sorry” or maybe “I’m a terrible human being.” I’m sure your victims endured significantly more than 24 hours of “dark hours” because of you.
I have made many mistakes over the course of my career, some of which were brought to light this week.
“I have made many mistakes over the course of my career, some of which I got caught for this week” would have been a bit more accurate.
To say I’m sorry about my behavior is a categorical understatement. Still, I need to say it: I am so, so sorry.
Thank you for explaining that you need to apologize. Really big of you.
I direct my apology first to those women who I’ve made feel uncomfortable in any way, at any time
Might be best to start talking about the women you actually sexually harassed. This generic fluff is insulting to the people who actually had the courage to expose you.
— but also to the greater tech ecosystem, a community that I have utterly failed.
OMFG. ARE YOU SERIOUS? You barely mention the idea that you might have made women feel “uncomfortable” and then you move on to apologize to the tech community? Is that what you’ve been thinking about in your “darkest” hours?
Guess what? Most of us techies weren’t in the situation where we thought we’d have to go to your hotel room to get your investment. We’ll be fine.
The power dynamic that exists in venture capital is despicably unfair.
The fact that you’re now teaching about the unfairness of the power dynamic is disgusting. Can I remind you that 2 days ago, you LOVED this dynamic. Don’t pretend to suddenly think the whole thing is terrible. You don’t have a right to say this 24 hours after you were caught.
The gap of influence between male venture capitalists and female entrepreneurs is frightening and I hate that my behavior played a role in perpetrating a gender-hostile environment.
“PLAYED A ROLE?!” Who are you? I don’t think you hate that your behavior played a role. I think you hate that you were caught.
It is outrageous and unethical for any person to leverage a position of power in exchange for sexual gain,
Reminder: Two days ago your didn’t believe this. Most of the rest of us did. Please let someone who actually believed this last week teach this lesson.
it is clear to me now that that is exactly what I’ve done.
I’d rather you write a letter explaining to us HOW IT WASN’T CLEAR TO YOU BEFORE. What exactly did you believe two days ago? What wasn’t clear to you?
Oh wait. That’s right. Two days ago you denied the whole thing: “I strongly deny The Information’s attacks on my character. The fact is, I have always enjoyed respectful relationships with female founders, business partners, and investors.”
I am deeply ashamed of my lack of self-awareness.
You’re not ashamed. You’re embarrassed. You will be ashamed, but right now you’re trying to put out a fire.
I am grateful to Niniane, Susan, Leiti, and the other women who spoke up for providing me with a sobering look into my own character and behavior that I can no longer ignore.
There is NO WAY you are grateful. You might be someday, but again, right now you’re just embarrassed and trying to write words to make people think you’re a decent person. You haven’t learned any real lessons yet.
The dynamic of this industry makes it hard to speak up, but this is the type of action that leads to progress and change, starting with me.
Don’t you dare make this about you…
I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from Binary Capital,
Ugh. Yes, of course you are. There’s no other option.
the firm I co-founded in 2014.
I have visceral hatred for you including this statement. It feels like you’re trying to nudge us to feel sorry for you that you need to leave your precious firm behind. YOU CAUSED THIS. You successfully founded a firm in 2014 and used it to harass women. Sorry that didn’t work out for you.
I will be seeking professional counseling as I take steps to reflect on my behavior with and attitude towards women.
Step 1: Don’t sexually harass women. Simplest thing ever. Good luck in counseling though. Hope the reflection works out.
I will find ways to learn from this difficult experience —
See step 1 from above.
And “difficult experience”? Come on. We don’t care that the experience has been difficult for you. We really, really don’t. We care that it’s been difficult for the women you harassed.
and to help drive necessary changes in the broader venture community.
Please don’t try to drive change in our community. It’s not yours anymore. You had your shot, and it’s better if you just leave. The community will use you as an example of how not to act. That’s what you leave behind.
The Binary team will also be taking measures to ensure that the firm is a safe place for founders of all backgrounds to find the support and resources they need to change the world, without abuse of power or mistreatment of any person.
Thank you for putting a marketing statement for Binary (a firm you founded in 2014 but no longer work for because when aspiring entrepreneurial women came to pitch you, you took advantage of your power in some of the worst ways possible).
Also, Binary, your first step is to write a letter to every woman who’s ever pitched your firm and ask them to report any other issues. Don’t do anything until you do that. Although I’m sure your first step will be scrambling to bring on a female partner to repair that image.
I owe a heartfelt apology to my family, my investors, my portfolio, and the team at Binary, who have been completely blindsided and in no way deserve the pain I’ve caused.
Yes you do.
But most of all I apologize again to those who I’ve hurt during the course of my career
Again, a bullshit generic apology to “those” (who I guess are the women he harassed?). “Those” are probably deeply satisfied with this heartfelt apology.
— and for the damage I’ve done to the industry I care so deeply about.
You end with apologizing to the tech industry. HOW ARE YOUR LAST WORDS NOT DIRECTLY TO YOUR VICTIMS?!? Personally, I think this is telling. This letter isn’t to “those” people you harassed, it’s to the people who’s respect you crave, but who now don’t want to be in the same room as you.
In closing, I genuinely hope and believe that all of this will cause positive change in both the tech industry and your life. I think we will be stronger and you will be a better person because of this. But the acts are inexcusable, and out of respect for “those”, I hope you find a different industry to contribute to after your “reflection” is over.
A reminder that these thoughts are my own. Since I wrote this angry, I want to be clear this is from me, and in no way represents the official thoughts of my employer, although I’d hope Papa G would feel the same way.