As previously reported on this blog, Mark Hurd has lost his job as Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by a contractor. This wiped $10 billion off the value of HP’s shares.
Did it involve nine-times-a-night sex with a curvaceous bottle blonde in her early 20s, and will we see the pictures run for months in the various newspapers and magazines that thrive on this sort of thing? No.
The case involved a 50-year-old single mother, absolutely no sex, and according to HP’s investigation, no sexual harassment either.
Jodie Fisher, the freelance contractor involved, said in a statement: "I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this. That was never my intention."
She also appeared in several minor films, including some that Allred described in the statement as R-rated, when she was in her 30s. A list of her films found on the Internet includes such titles as "Easy Rider -- The Ride Back," "Blood Dolls," "The Outsider" and "Sheer Passion." More recently, Fisher was listed as a cast member of a short-lived reality TV show called "Age of Love," in which a 30-year-old man went on dates with several women in different age ranges, including their 20s, 30s and 40s.
This is a somewhat sensational account. IMDb says Fisher played a bartender in Easy Rider: The Ride Back, The Outsider was a made-for-TV “Gangster World” movie about an android hunting down a computer programmer (nothing wrong with that, surely), Sheer Passion was a detective story, and Fisher played a telepath in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. She’s also done at least one fitness-related advertorial TV video. She doesn’t appear to have done anything as outrageous as, say, Glenda Jackson or Helen Mirren.
Of course, this doesn’t let Hurd off the hook. HP paid him off because it reckoned he submitted expenses claims “for which there was not a legitimate business purpose”; and, the Merc says: “Hurd paid the woman an unspecified amount of money to resolve her complaint.”
However, according to someone familiar with Hurd’s side of the story, reported in The Wall Street Journal:
“both trips were scheduled for purposes other than meeting the contractor. In the case of the Los Angeles meeting, Mr Hurd was on his way home from San Diego and had a different meeting scheduled in the Los Angeles area, this person said. The contractor was scheduled to meet one of Mr Hurd's assistants, and the former CEO only attended because his original meeting was canceled, said this person.”
Well, I expect that if you went through the expenses claimed by the CEOs of all the major corporations, you’d find some business trips were more justified than others. I also suspect that anyone running a $125 billion corporation would feel it was the sort of thing he could decide for himself.
But I’m far from certain that HP board doesn’t believe all CEO's trips were justified: pays him $28 million to leave would have generated the thousands of stories exemplified by the BBC's headline: Hewlett-Packard chief Mark Hurd resigns after sex probe.
Including, of course, this one….
Jodie Fisher’s Demo Reel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9P85hnT2RQ