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Entrepreneur details first on-the-record allegations against Pishevar

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals

Laura Fitton is a Boston entrepreneur and social marketing executive, known to many early Twitter users as the co-author of Twitter for Dummies. She also is now the sixth woman to accuse venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar of sexual misconduct, and the first to do so on the record, alleging that Pishevar forcibly kissed her and engaged in other inappropriate behavior after a charity event six years ago.

Pishevar on Tuesday took a leave of absence from his venture capital firm, from a company where he serves as executive chairman, and from several boards of directors.

Why she's speaking out: Fitton says she was stunned and disheartened by Pishevar's denial of the initial five allegations and, in particular, his claim to be "the victim of an organized smear campaign." Moreover, several of the other women's claims mirrored parts of her alleged experience, suggesting a pattern of behavior.

"I was naive to feel that confronting him in 2011 was enough to protect other women. It has been devastating to learn that he allegedly went on to hurt others, and, if so, it's devastating that he hasn't yet found the courage to own his mistakes, apologize, and start making amends."

Pishevar "unequivocally and categorically denies any improper behavior toward Ms. Fitton," via a statement from his attorney, which also claims that the pair's continued digital correspondence in subsequent years — which Axios has reviewed — is exculpatory.