The Silicon Valley tech press has been largely silent on the serious allegations of rape and physical abuse leveled against TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington by his ex-girlfriend Jenn Allen. But a former friend of Arrington's is now speaking out to say he believes Allen's story and has heard similar ones before.
This comes as Arrington's former business partner, the entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, said he'd heard the stories too. "Story after horrific story of unimaginable behavior were told to me in private," he wrote.
The tech blogger Loren Feldman, a former good friend of Arrington's, goes further in a video posted to YouTube today. "I think he did it," Feldman says. "Personally, I think he did it. I think he did all the things that woman spoke about." Feldman also airs the fact that rumors that Arrington has been abusive towards woman have swirled long since Jenn Allen took to Facebook.
"It's been the worst kept rumor in the valley for years," Feldman says. Feldman also claims he knows of other women who Arrington allegedly beat as well.
The fact is, among tech insiders, rumors that Arrington has been abusive towards women have circled for years. I personally know of two journalists who chased these rumors, to no avail. They ran into the same problem that is responsible for the silence of the tech blogosphere today: People are scared of Mike Arrington. He is an incredibly powerful player with an unpredictable mean streak and deep connections to most of the major tech media outlets. He's an investor in former TechCrunch editor Sarah Lacy's new start-up PandoDaily, and of course still a contributor at TechCrunch. Gabe Rivera launched tech news aggregator Techmeme, which functions as sort of the front page of the Silicon Valley and largely sets the pace of the news cycle, out of Arrington's home. Unsurprisingly, news of the Arrington allegations have been missing from all three.
Feldman, however, is a longtime character in the tech industry, known for speaking uncomfortable truths.
"The things he says are things that many would love to say but they have to live here," wrote the tech journalist Tom Foremski in 2010.
He's best known as a prickly blogger who earned a reputation as the "Court Jester" of Silicon Valley for his YouTube videos in which he parodied members of the tech elite through puppet performances. In the late 2000s, he became close with Arrington, who found his videos highly amusing. Here's a picture of the two together at a tech conference. Arrington even invited Feldman to film a series of Mike Arrington puppet videos in his home. Arrington considered Feldman a "good friend", until the two had a falling out in late 2009, which Feldman said was because of the rumors. (Feldman was also the center of a controversy himself when he made an offensive comedy video called "TechNigga" back in 2007.)
Arrington still has yet to weigh in on the allegations.