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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Ex-CEO of MaGIC alleges sexual assault by VC boss

Cheryl Yeoh writes on her painful experience in June 2014, when Dave McClure of Silicon Valley VC company 500 Startups, allegedly sexually assaulted her in KL.
Cheryl-Yeoh-sexual-assaultPETALING JAYA: Being a top executive in an organisation does not mean a woman would be less vulnerable to the potential threat of a sexual assault as a former CEO of a government agency revealed.
Former MaGIC CEO Cheryl Yeoh related her experience while in the company of prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist Dave McClure at her home here in Kuala Lumpur, in June 2014.
Writing about the alleged sexual assault in her blog on July 3, Yeoh said it happened after a brainstorming session about McClure’s VC company, 500 Startups’ new growth and distribution accelerator, Distro Dojo.
According to Yeoh, she had invited some of the participants in the discussion to her apartment.
“What started out to be an innocent night of just jamming and hanging out at my new apartment turned into a nightmare episode that has been haunting me for the past three years,” she said in her blog posting.
“Dave (McClure) kept pouring scotch (whiskey) into my glass before I finished drinking throughout the night. He also stayed on after all the others had left for the night.”
“I quickly asked if Dave wanted to order an Uber and leave like the rest of them but he said no. Perplexed, I offered him to crash on the couch or the guest room and proceeded to show him the guest room.
“Then I went into my own bedroom but Dave followed me there, and that’s when he first propositioned to sleep with me.
“I said no. I reminded Dave that he knew my then-boyfriend and that we’d just talked about him earlier that night.
“I led him to the door and told him he needed to leave. On the way out, he pushed himself onto me to the point where I was backed into a corner, made contact to kiss me, and said something along the lines of ‘Just one night, please just this one time.’
“Disgusted and outraged, I said no firmly again, pushed him away and made sure he was out my door,” she related of the events that she had not spoken about until now.
She added how it was not her first bad experience with McClure as he had also made sexual advances towards her while she was an entrepreneur based in the United States.
Her revelation comes in the wake of news on McClure’s alleged sexual harassment of several women entrepreneurs, among others.
As a result of the allegations, McClure has resigned from 500 Startups, announcing his decision in a blog post aptly entitled “I’m a creep. I’m sorry.”
MaGIC is an agency set up under the finance ministry and was officially launched in April 2014 to boost the Malaysian technology startup ecosystem. Yeoh was appointed CEO and remained in the position until January last year.
Following the incident in her apartment, Yeoh admitted she did not want to file any report against McClure as the Distro Dojo deal was at stake, and also because she was “not sure if her story would be taken seriously”.
She said her reason for revealing the incident is also due to the support that McClure seems to be getting from some people after his blog post, with some people saying he had nothing to apologise for as it was “just normal behaviour”.
One of the comments stated, “Dave, you’re not a creep, you’re a solid dude. I sorta wish you didn’t apologise for wanting a sex life like other human beings.”
Yeoh was also appalled at McClure for not acknowledging the seriousness of the issue, despite his apology, because he “definitely didn’t address the severity of his sexual advances towards me and potentially others”.
“It was not just inappropriate, it was assault,” she said in her blog.
Yeoh could not be reached for comment. -FMT

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