A screenshot of Justin Caldbeck's new title on LinkedIn.
(Ryan Mac/BuzzFeed Information)
When investor Justin Caldbeck resigned from his San Francisco-based enterprise capital agency amid allegations of sexual harassment, he issued a press release thanking the ladies who had spoken out towards him.
“I’m deeply ashamed of my lack of self-awareness,” mentioned the Binary Capital cofounder. “The dynamic of this trade makes it exhausting to talk up, however that is the kind of motion that results in progress and alter, beginning with me.”
Privately, nonetheless, Caldbeck is threatening authorized motion towards one among his accusers, who continues to speak brazenly about her experiences with the disgraced enterprise capitalist. BuzzFeed Information has realized that Caldbeck’s lawyer despatched a cease-and-desist letter to Niniane Wang, one among three girls who went on the document with sexual harassment accusations, demanding that she cease saying that he intimidated a reporter and threatened skilled retribution towards different potential accusers. The letter, which was given to BuzzFeed Information by a supply conversant in the scenario, additionally requested that Wang problem a public retraction of some statements she made about Caldbeck at a July enterprise convention.
“… It has come to our consideration that you’ve made plenty of false statements about Justin within the media, most just lately at a properly attended Fortune media convention,” reads the letter. “The intent of this letter is to request that you just cease making these false statements and that you just right them.”
Wang declined to touch upon the letter. Caldbeck additionally declined to remark.
In a June article, know-how information publication The Info revealed Caldbeck’s historical past of alleged sexual harassment, publishing accusations from six completely different girls, together with three who went on the document with their full names. Wang was a type of three; she recounted a yearlong interval of alleged harassment from Caldbeck beginning in August 2010 when she claims he tried so far her and on a number of events requested her to sleep with him. On the time, Wang, an skilled engineer who oversaw the creation of Google Desktop, was working a coworking house that was sponsored by Caldbeck’s then-employer. She initially agreed to fulfill with him with the understanding they might focus on enterprise.
“There’s undoubtedly a price to talking out,” Wang advised The Info when explaining her motivations to go public together with her expertise. She added that she hoped her story would encourage different girls to talk out about misbehavior or undesirable advances in work settings.
Caldbeck initially denied all wrongdoing in a press release to The Info that ran when the story was revealed. He later issued a second assertion that didn’t particularly deal with the accusations made by the ladies who'd accused him, however mentioned he was “disturbed by the allegations.” Later, The Info revealed Caldbeck had threatened reporter Reed Albergotti with authorized motion by way of textual content message shortly after the story was revealed.
“Go fuck your self reed [sic],” Caldbeck wrote. “Our legal professionals will probably be in contact.”
Caldbeck subsequently apologized for that message, in response to The Info editor Jessica Lessin.
Following the publication of the Info story, Wang continued to talk about her alleged experiences with Caldbeck. In a response to a June blog post commenting on Caldbeck’s assertion, she claimed that “she had been attempting for seven years” to show the enterprise capitalist, and that he allegedly “stored threatening reporters,” making it troublesome to get the story out.
“I don’t consider that somebody can harass girls for 10 years, inform the individuals who uncovered him to go fuck themselves, after which 24 hours later, thank them for bringing him self-awareness,” Wang wrote.
Niniane Wang speaks on the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Convention in Aspen, Colorado, in July.
Following the The Info's story, one other feminine entrepreneur, Lindsay Meyer, advised the New York Times that she had been groped and kissed by Caldbeck. Other reports additionally mentioned that Sew Repair CEO Katrina Lake had complained about Caldbeck's conduct to her buyers, inflicting him to be faraway from his place as an organization board observer.
In July, Wang appeared on the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Convention in Aspen, Colorado, and defined how she had labored intently with Albergotti on the story, joking that it had change into her second job.
“Prior to now few months I had been working with a reporter and Justin had harassed many ladies by this level, together with groping them, kissing them, warning them they’d by no means work within the trade once more in the event that they didn’t do what he needed,” Wang mentioned throughout an onstage interview. “He was very litigious and threatening. The reporter had a brand new mortgage and a small little one and was very afraid he would lose his mortgage if Justin made good on his threats.”
Caldbeck’s letter, dated on July 27 and despatched by Ivo Labar, a associate at San Francisco regulation agency Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP, disputed these statements from Wang. The doc contends that Caldbeck by no means threatened Albergotti previous to the publication of the story and disputes Wang’s claims that the enterprise capitalist threatened individuals who spoke out towards him.
“Whereas Justin disputes plenty of the particular allegations which have been made towards him and has a distinct recollection of the occasions with you, he continues to have deep remorse over making you are feeling uncomfortable and acknowledges that it’s not okay,” reads the letter. “That being mentioned, repeating different tales as information when they don’t seem to be isn’t one thing he can enable.”
Lessin, when requested about Wang’s allegations, mentioned that Caldbeck didn’t personally threaten Albergotti earlier than the story’s publication. She famous, nonetheless, that the reporter had heard that Binary Capital had despatched a observe to its restricted companions “a number of weeks” previous to publication suggesting that it will defend itself and Caldbeck towards any allegations.
“We had been definitely beneath the impression that he’d battle the story vigorously,” Lessin mentioned.
In one other allegation, the letter additionally challenges Wang's declare made in a Pando story that Caldbeck tried to pay her off in alternate for silence. The letter contains an excerpt of an electronic mail alternate between Caldbeck and Wang purportedly from February, however it’s unclear what the messages present, if something, moreover the truth that the 2 had been speaking previous to the publication of The Info's story in June.
Labar claims that his shopper was given “no indication in any respect that you just had been offended or uncomfortable with him.” And whereas Labar repeatedly states the letter isn’t a risk and reiterates a few of Caldbeck’s apologies to Wang, he additionally says that his shopper reserves the fitting to litigate the matter.
Labar’s letter claims that Wang’s statements injured Caldbeck’s fame and calls for that she stop making them. It additionally asks that Wang make a public declaration to right the statements Caldbeck contends are false, implying there could also be authorized penalties ought to she fail to take action. Two individuals near Wang advised BuzzFeed Information they consider Wang has no plans to adjust to Caldbeck’s calls for.
It’s not but clear if Wang replied to the letter, which requested a response inside 10 enterprise days from the date it was despatched; she declined to remark for this story. However the specter of authorized motion has not seemingly discouraged her and she or he mentioned her expertise with Caldbeck on an Aug. 9 podcast for tech publication Recode.
“A giant a part of the explanation why I mentioned I didn’t consider Justin Caldbeck may change in a single day was that he had been doing this for 10 years and had been actively thwarting makes an attempt to disclose him,” Wang mentioned. “So it was not as if he was unaware of what he was doing.”
Past the cease-and-desist letter his lawyer despatched to Wang, Caldbeck, who has not taken any authorized motion towards his accuser, has stored a low profile. He’s averted interviews — and additional scrutiny. He has, nonetheless, up to date his LinkedIn page to point out that he’s not concerned at Binary Capital.
He’s now “Head of Self-Reflection, Accountability & Change.”
Here’s a copy of Justin Caldbeck's cease-and-desist letter to Niniane Wang: