Maximillian Potter’s “Letter from Silicon Valley” in the December issue of Vanity Fair examines the career of Mike Arrington, founder of the news site TechCrunch, “and accusations that he raped an ex-girlfriend and abused two other women.”
There’s not much new information about the case even though Mr. Potter door-steps the apartment of Arrington's accuser, Jenn Allen, and her parents’ San Francisco home.
The long article tries desperately — and bizarrely — to link the rape accusation to the lack of women in Silicon Valley startups, and that this case demonstrates “the dark side of the Information Age.”
He completely fails to prove that there is a wider meaning for the rape accusation, but that doesn't deter him at all and he ends up claiming that there is something wrong with Silicon Valley.
But there isn't a larger theme here --it's very specific to Mike Arrington -- the whole affair has nothing to do with the number of women in tech, or the "Information Age."
Potter also tries to portray Jenn Allen as a woman scorned. And he implies that Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media has some kind of vendetta against Arrington, which has absolutely nothing to do with this case. His reporters have worked hard and gathered a lot of information on this story.
In a potty concluding paragraph Potter writes:
Regardless of the absolute truth of what Arrington did or did not do to Jenn Allen, the whole affair makes this much clear: while the Valley is busy incubating a lot of shiny new start-ups and promising innovations and social networks that generate all kinds of value propositions and tremendous revenue possibilities, behind the scenes of that eco-system there's another part of the culture, where someone is always trying to screw somebody over, where it's crunch or be crunched.
The big question the luminaries of the Valley might want to ask themselves is the question Arrington himself posed that day at Berkeley: Does the Valley want to solve the problem, or does it want to pick on Mike?
"Regardless of the absolute truth of what Arrington did or did not do to Jenn Allen..." Wow! He threw away core of the entire article to deliver a bland warning about Silicon Valley where "someone is always trying to screw somebody over." It's ridiculous.
Rape is not the same as a soured business deal. Rape has absolutely nothing to do with the lack of women in tech. And it's not about "picking on Mike." He picked this one himself.