Michael Arrington Rape Accusations Become Social Media Nightmare
The rape and abuse allegations levied against TechCrunch founder and Silicon Valley hotshot Michael Arrington have turned into a he-said-she-said battle currently being waged on social media and may soon move to the courtroom. On Thursday, Arrington posted a detailed letter from his lawyers directed at accuser and former girlfriend Jenn Allen, in which he denied the accusations and gave her until Monday to retract them or face legal action.
The letter, which was published Friday on his personal blog, paints Allen as a disappointed ex unable to come to emotional grips with their breakup. He says Allen’s claims are "factually impossible" and provides evidence that on the day Allen claims to have been raped (March 5, 2012), Arrington was in Washington and Allen was in California.
While Allen has not formally responded to the letter, she did post this on her Twitter, evidently taking back the date she originally gave to Gawker for March 2 — the first Friday in March of 2012.
The last bit that Allen is referencing — the false pregnancy — is also addressed in the letter from Arrington’s attorneys. They say Allen once faked a pregnancy in order to force communication with Arrington, only to later admit that she had been faking it the entire time. The letter does not offer evidence that she admitted she faked the pregnancy, but does offer this email — sent May 18, 2011 — as proof that she was attempting to get Arrington’s attention:
While Allen's Twitter conversation mentions a second pregnancy, also by rape, Arrington’s letter does not address this in any way — largely because, as far as I know, talk of a second pregnancy is new.
Arrington's twitter account then get’s very vague with the details of the rape. After alleging she was raped on March 5 in San Fransisco, she posts two other tweets with different information.
First, she accuses him of a rape in a place other than San Francisco, but without a time frame:
Then, she accuses him of rape on a day that is not March 5 but still in San Francisco:
Theoretically, she could have changed her story on the date of SF-area rape a third time, and the Washington rape could be the second rape. Either way, Allen’s details are starting to become very, very fuzzy. I'm no lawyer, but I would certainly suggest Allen hire one and start to build a time line — hopefully backed with evidence. If not of the rape, at least proof that they were both in the same place at the same time. In the meantime, she should stop tweeting about this entirely.
While Arrington's letter served as a concise response to Allen's accusations, there are several accusations that go essentially unanswered. One, levied by Julia Allison via Gawker, alleges that he through his then girlfriend Meagan Asha against a wall in 2009. In Tweets published by Gawker from Allison, Allison says she doesn't understand why Asha would say the abuse didn't happen, because she was there.
Arrington responds to this on his blog, posting screen shots of text message conversations between Allison and Asha in which Allison says that she was "harrassed" by Gawker reporters. He also publishes a comment left by Allison on Gawker that said she "never witnessed any abuse."
Gawker responded to this by posting screen grabbed text messages of their own, this time between Gawker reporter Adrian Chen and Allison, in which Allison does, in fact, say exactly what Gawker said she did. I encourage you to read the entire text message conversation on Gawker's website, but this is most notable:
Arrington has not responded in any way to accusations by blogger Loren Feldman who, in a video, claimed he knows two other women Arrington abused and that his violent tendencies have been "the worst kept rumor in the valley for years." Nor does he respond to accusations made by his former business partner Jason Calacanis, who, in a Facebook post, accused Arrington of threatening him and mentioned "story after horrific story of unimaginable behavior" by Arrington.
While it's interesting, and perhaps telling, that several people took Jenn Allen's accusations as a green light for their own — on the record or off — the truth behind any of these allegations probably won't come out unless this hits a courtroom, which would be quite a while from now.