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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.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

5 hours ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.