Disgraced VC Justin Caldbeck goes after alleged sexual-harassment victim: report

Since leaving Binary Capital in the wake of sexual harassment allegations by a number of women, Justin Caldbeck has updated his LinkedIn profile with a little self-flagellation: he’s now, we are to believe, an independent “Head of Self-Reflection, Accountability & Change.”

That self-awarded title fits with his statements after six women accused him of unwanted, inappropriate advances. Caldbeck described the power dynamic in venture capital as “despicably unfair,” and he hated that his “behavior played a role in perpetrating a gender-hostile environment,” he said.

“It is outrageous and unethical for any person to leverage a position of power in exchange for sexual gain, it is clear to me now that that is exactly what I’ve done,” he said in a statement.

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He also said he was “deeply ashamed” of his “lack of self-awareness.”

All that self-reflection has seemingly produced a surprising result: the disgraced VC is threatening legal action against one of his accusers, Bay Area startup founder and CEO Niniane Wang, a new report suggested.

“Caldbeck’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter to Niniane Wang, one of three women who went on the record with sexual harassment accusations, demanding that she stop saying that he intimidated a reporter and threatened professional retribution against other potential accusers,” Buzzfeed reported Sept. 6.

The letter also demanded that Wang, who has reportedly continued to speak publicly about Caldbeck, issue “a public retraction of some statements she made about Caldbeck at a July business conference,” according to Buzzfeed.

Wang and Caldbeck declined to discuss the letter with the news outlet.

In the July 27 letter from Caldbeck, sent by a lawyer, Caldbeck disputed Wang’s contention that he’d threatened people who spoke against him, and said he’d never threatened a reporter, according to Buzzfeed.

“While Justin disputes a number of the specific allegations that have been made against him and has a different recollection of the events with you, he continues to have deep regret over making you feel uncomfortable and recognizes that it is not ok,” the letter reportedly said.

“That being said, repeating other stories as facts when they are not is not something he can allow.”

Jessica Lessin, editor of The Information website that first reported the allegations against Caldbeck, said he hadn’t personally threatened the reporter. But the reporter had “heard that Binary Capital had sent a note to its limited partners ‘a few weeks’ prior to publication suggesting that it would defend itself and Caldbeck against any allegations.

“We were certainly under the impression that he’d fight the story vigorously,” Lessin told Buzzfeed.


Photo: LinkedIn profile page for Justin Caldbeck (LinkedIn)


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