Aug 30, 2019

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

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

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

There are no COVID-19 patients in hospital in New Zealand, which reported just 21 active cases after days of zero new infections. A top NZ health official said Tuesday he's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission."

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and it's unclear if people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,588,299 — Total deaths: 350,417 — Total recoveries — 2,286,827Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,680,625 — Total deaths: 98,902 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy