By Phil Fairbanks  |  10-19-2017   News
Photo credit: @Scobleizer | Twitter

On Robert Scoble's Twitter he describes himself as an "authority on the future." He has co-written three books on tech trends and is famed as a VR/AR blogger and "tech evangelist." Seems he may not have been as much of an authority on the future as he claims. Somehow he'd missed how actions and behaviors which were never ok are no longer tolerated even in intensely male dominated fields like Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

In the wake of Weinstein, it seems more and more people are opening up about systemic and endemic sexual abuse, harassment and assault issues. Quinn Norton is a journalist

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">There are probably hundreds of these stories from Silicon Valley about to emerge. <br><br>“Robert Scoble and Me” <a href="https://t.co/zeYBlOJZc6">https://t.co/zeYBlOJZc6</a></p>&mdash; Gab (@getongab) <a href="https://twitter.com/getongab/status/921156330752303106?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 19, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Quinn describes her harrowing experience at the Foo camp, a tech "un-conference" held every year. During one of her first talks on body hacking, she describes being faced wit sexually explicit questions from "one of the creators of the VisiCalc," which was the first spreadsheet computer program, originally released for the Apple II by VisiCorp. From there on she did her best to avoid him "but these were attitudes you couldn’t avoid anywhere in tech."

She also describes a campfire scene in the early 2010s. She describes seeing what appeared like a man pouring drinks down the throat of a nearly incapacitated woman.

<blockquote>"I realized the man was someone powerful. I blanked and said I wasn't sure what to do, maybe try get them apart? My friend gave me a fantastic no-duh look and went back over to them.

At one point when they were separated the man in question was standing beside me at the camp fire. The person on the other side of me nervously decided to introduce us. It went roughly: “Robert, this is Quinn Norton. Quinn, this is Robert Scoble, he’s dangerous.” Scoble laughed and quickly said he wasn’t dangerous. I looked at him, keeping a blank expression, and said “I am.” I had learned this attitude after many years working in tech, that knowing how to deliver pain and putting everyone on notice that you would, was a way to avoid harassment. I knew this was fucked up, but it had been my normal for years.

And then, without any more warning, Scoble was on me. I felt one hand on my breast and his arm reaching around and grabbing my butt. Scoble is considerably bigger than I am, and I realized quickly I wasn’t going to be able to push him away. Meanwhile, the people around just watched, in what I can only imagine was stunned shock. I got a hand free and used a palm strike to the base of his chin to knock him back. It worked, he flew back and struggled to get his feet under him. I watched his feet carefully for that moment. He was unbalanced from the alcohol and I realized if he reached for me again I could pull him forward, bounce his face off my knee, then drive it into the ground. (I knew this move because it had been done to me, then the martial arts expert who did it picked me up and apologetically showed me how to do it.) He laughed and rubbed his chin and said something like “I like this one, she has spirit.” I said this: “If you touch me again I will break your nose.” I could still feel his hands on me, his intentions, all of it. He laughed again, and I repeated, “If you touch me again I will break your nose.” He didn’t grab me again after that.</blockquote>

Scoble then went back to trying to make out with the first woman who was drunk to the point of disorientation. Quinn says she stayed silent in part to protect the woman who, if uncovered, might be "destroyed" professionally. To bring this fact home she mentions a friend who, after a sexual assault at a party turned into a local scandal found herself hounded by hate mail and accusations, eventually committing suicide as a result.

Scoble, it seems is known throughout the Silicon Valley scene. Like Weinstein, he was just one of those "open secrets."

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Amazingly, Quinn has an incredibly positive viewpoint regarding the situation:

<blockquote>The demonization of either rapists or victims is what makes the subject unapproachable, and doesn’t let anyone intercede to get abusive people the help they need, much less the victims. Men aren’t wild predators, but sometimes the broken ones can do very bad things. Sometimes, even if rarely, broken women do bad things to men. So the people who care for, love, or need these broken people cover for them. They destroy the people that seem the most likely to destroy their loved ones: the victims. Ultimately, this neglect destroys their loved ones, too.</blockquote>

If Gab is correct, there will be many more stories like these to come out of the tech world. We can only hope all these stories coming out of Hollywood and Silicon Valley will result in sweeping changes to the systemic and endemic harassment of men and women by towering "untouchables."

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