(This was originally a post on my Facebook wall)
If you’re not following this CNN series on Silicon Valley’s issues with sexual harassment and tolerance, you’re missing out.
You’re missing out like I missed out for years and years. I started my tech career in Texas and took it all over the country, but I never really traveled west of Colorado until I started cofounded SiliconANGLE.
By that time, I had already been covering Silicon Valley and tech remotely for almost half a decade, professionally. Their culture is really good at spouting progressive values, but acting entirely regressively underneath that shroud.
I witnessed things during my travels out west that were utterly shocking; perhaps because of my personal ethics, or perhaps because of my naivete.
I’ve been hesitant to weigh in publicly on the recent outbreak of sexual harassment revelations in part because I know so many of the individuals personally, but also for another reason… if you look at everyone who’s been recently accused, they make a very loud public pronunciation about how women are mistreated, how they’re feminists, and how it’s shocking and vile what these women have to endure.
And then it comes out later they’re accused of sexual assault or rape or similarly shocking garbage behavior.
The last few years, I hear more rumors than I used to, having left SiliconANGLE. Now that I’m not directly tied to the valley, people feel more comfortable telling me things about people I used to be directly associated with, in the west coast startup scene.
The allegations I continue to hear (that aren’t mine to tell, so don’t ask) are all about men who pride themselves on promoting “women in tech,” or make a big point to regularly talk about how they’re a “male feminist.”
I haven’t wanted to be lumped in with that type of person. I believe that they call that virtue signaling now; it’s not a particularly useful way to accomplish anything, in my view, regardless of whether you believe in the sentiment. To that end, instead, I try work to quietly throw my support to qualified women in a professional sense, rather than make a huge show of it (and yes, I sense the irony of saying that in a Facebook post like this).
I’m not a perfect guy. Throughout adulthood, I’ve looked back on who I was five years previous and wondered if current me would even enjoy hanging out with five-years-younger me. I mention this because I don’t want to hold myself up as some sort of example to others. I don’t know if I’m a good example. I mean, I think I am, but in five years, who knows what I’ll think.
This turned into a much longer update than I originally intended.Sorry about that.
To put a conclusion on this novel, I do believe that reflecting on concrete actions we can take to create a better professional environment for all is a good way to start, and that includes (when you have the power) not enabling abusers and sexual criminals.