Amidst probe of alleged sexual misconduct, AngelList partner Lee Jacobs on leave


An investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at an event in
2013 has led to AngelList partner Lee Jacobs going on
indefinite paid leave of absence, sources tell TechCrunch and
the company has now confirmed.

AngelList was informed of the incident two weeks ago. According
to a source familiar with AngelList’s internal working, on July
13th, AngelList told employees via Slack that “Some of you have
noticed that Lee is no longer available on email or Slack. He
is on leave for personal reasons indefinitely and will be
unavailable for contact. Jake and Parker are taking on his
responsibilities temporarily while we figure out the longer
term.”

The incident allegedly occurred while Jacobs was the managing
partner and co-founder of Edelweiss, a group of angel
investors. He lists himself as having become an advisor to
AngelList in December 2013 and a partner in September 2015.

AngelList had yet to make any public statement about the
situation. After several requests for comment, the company’s
COO Graham Jenkin told TechCrunch “We’re investigating a report
about an alleged incident that occurred before an employee
joined the company. The report is from a third-party. The
employee is on leave and we can’t comment further while we’re
investigating.”

AngelList partner Lee Jacobs is on leave of absence during an
investigation into alleged sexual misconduct

TechCrunch is keeping details of the alleged sexual misconduct
private at the request of the victim, and their advocate who we
spoke to. The complaint lodged with AngelList by the victim’s
advocate alleges that Lee Jacobs sexually assaulted a woman
during an event attended by others in the tech industry on
March 17th, 2013 . The victim’s advocate says distress
from the incident caused the victim to leave the San Francisco
Bay Area.

The advocate claims that AngelList’s leadership team was
offered a chance to speak with the victim on the phone but the
company declined. The team has signalled a preference for the
victim to instead work with law enforcement and press criminal
charges before AngelList will get further involved.

This ongoing situation comes during a cultural shift in Silicon
Valley. Following whistleblower Susan Fowler’s revelations
about sexual discrimination at Uber, more scandals came to
light and CEO Travis Kalanick resigned. Since then allegations
of sexual harassment or assault have led to the resignation of
Binary Capital founding partners Justin Caldbeck, 500 Startups
founder and GP Dave McClure, and Ignition Partners’ Frank
Artale.

As public support for victims and whistleblowers grows, the
risk of retaliation against those who speak up may decrease.
That could lead to more allegations that could shake up the
tech industry that’s long been dominated by menand cavalier
attitudes towards professional decorum.

Some in the tech scene worry that male VCs may selfishly avoid
meetings with female founders or move them to less conducive
office settings to minimize their own risks of being called out
for bad behavior. But illuminating the hard truths about how
women are treated in tech is an important step towards
increasingly equality in the industry.

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