On sexual harassment in the tech industry

On sexual harassment in the tech industry

Yesterday, Valleywag published an article about an email that was sent to New York-based Gesche Haas by Pavel Curda, an investor and mentor on the European startup scene.

Haas has published a blog post and an Evernote document with screenshots of the email that Pavel Curda sent her after he met her at an event in Berlin:


Yeah, not pretty. The Next Web is mentioned in Valleywag’s post, and by Haas, because Pavel Curda has contributed ten articles for us in the past 32 months and mentions that on his About.me page. Every now and then he has pitched us a story, which we sometimes accepted and sometimes rejected.

We have spoken to Haas who sent us the original email exchange with Curda, and to Berlin-based Lucie Montel, who received the same approach from him at the same event. Montel initially intended to stay quiet but has decided to go public after Curda yesterday tweeted that his email had been hacked (implying the emails were not written by him).

Curda today admitted that he sent the messages and has asked us to publish the following apology:

“I regret sending the messages while I was in Berlin in July, mentioned recently in the press. I apologise for them and I am ready to apologise again in person with a big bouquet of flowers.”

We’re not sure that Haas or Montel will want any flowers from him, but we hope that Curda has learned that his behavior wasn’t, and isn’t, acceptable. We certainly can’t work with people who show this kind of behavior, and then lie to us about it when confronted. Following this incident, we have decided to not accept any more articles from Pavel Curda in the future.

The best way to deal with sexual harassment as a problem in technology is to talk about it openly and ensure that everyone knows it is not acceptable. Haas and Montel can be applauded for coming forward and speaking out.

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