Aug 30, 2019 - Technology

Google Ventures' #MeToo problems come to light with new allegations

Google is in the spotlight

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio, Axios

Google Ventures' significant #MeToo problems are coming to light after years of hiding in plain sight, following allegations against David Drummond, the chief legal officer of parent company Alphabet.

Driving the news: Earlier this week Jennifer Blakely published a Medium post that not only detailed her volatile relationship with Drummond but also alleged that he had affairs with at least two other Alphabet/Google employees.

  • Drummond, in a public reply, denies having "started a relationship with anyone else who was working at Google or Alphabet."
  • Multiple sources tell me Drummond never faced any demotion, suspension or other discipline related to his relationship with Blakely.
  • Alphabet is declining to comment on the new allegations, or even on whether it plans to open an investigation.
    • It's also unclear who would launch such an investigation, given that Larry Page and Sergey Brin are widely viewed to have mostly checked out, and since Drummond himself remains head of legal compliance.

Yes, but: This is not about allegations against any GV team member. To my knowledge, there are none.

  • But group CEO and managing partner David Krane reports directly to Drummond. And there are not only public allegations of inappropriate workplace relationships against Drummond, but he's acknowledged fathering a child with Blakely who later was forced out of Google's legal department.
    • Drummond also once repped GV on the board of Uber, by far GV's most lucrative investment, has been referred to as GV's chairman and has at times had de facto veto power over deals, per multiple sources.

Backdrop: Problematic stories about Drummond have swirled for years, but first made print in late 2017 in The Information. Then, last October they reappeared in a NY Times story that mostly focused on how Google paid off Android founder Andy Rubin over a sexual harassment claim (i.e., Drummond caught a bit of a PR break).

The bottom line: GV basically inherited Drummond, but it's time for GV's general partners to agitate for an investigation and to have Drummond at least temporarily removed from their organizational structure. How can GV plausibly insist its founders deal properly with their own workplace equality issues if it can't get its own house in order? GV didn't create the problem, but it should help solve it.

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