Andrew Yang's marketing campaign breaks ties with a fundraiser that was as soon as accused of sexual misconduct
Andrew Yang's mayoral campaign breaks ties with one of his fundraisers, Shervin Pishevar, an investor who resigned from his own company in 2017 after being charged with sexual misconduct, Recode has learned.
Pishevar, a venture capitalist who made an early predictive bet in Uber, was one of three dozen names the campaign announced to host a fundraiser Tuesday in support of Yang's mayoral offer in New York City. However, the campaign said on Monday night that Pishevar was recognized as co-moderator and the allegations against him were not known three years ago, raising questions about the Yang campaign review process.
"When we heard about these allegations tonight, we immediately removed Mr. Pishevar from the 35-person host committee," a Yang spokesman said Monday evening.
The spokesman said Pishevar had not yet contributed to Yang. In campaigns, the people who serve on their guest committees are usually scrutinized closely. Although not hired for the campaign, the hosts offer their time and give friends and business contacts their credibility in hosting the event. There is a story of high profile candidates breaking ties with fundraisers that pose reputational problems for the campaign they are trying to help.
A representative from Pishevar declined to comment. "I look forward to supporting @AndrewYang for the NYC Mayor," he tweeted last week. However, a source close to Pishevar said he recently tested positive for coronavirus and postponed or withdrew events while he recovers.
The tech industry has had to grapple with the question of whether or not to offer second chances to men who have admitted to sexual misconduct or been subject to allegations. Not all incidents are created equal, and opinions differ as to what executives should get back into the industry, when to do so, and what the standard for sufficient change should be.
Ellen Pao, a prominent Silicon Valley executive who has tried to make the industry fairer for women and minorities, said there were no easy answers.
“We haven't decided how we're going to fix things. Will Andrew Yang be the person who makes the decisions? Because their vets didn't know they should be looking for things like that? "Said Pao." We're on our way to just taking everyone back and having the same problems over and over again. "
Bloomberg reported in late 2017 that Pishevar was charged with sexual assault and / or harassment by five women. "In each case, the women accused Pishevar of taking advantage of a professional relationship and taking advantage of the prospect of a job, mentorship or investment to engage in undesirable sexual activity," the news agency said.
The allegations against Pishevar were among the best-known #MeToo storylines in Silicon Valley. The allegations went beyond unsolicited comments: several women told Bloomberg that Pishevar forced himself on them, including kissing them.
Pishevar officials denied the allegations at the time, saying he was "confident that these anecdotes will turn out to be untrue". Pishevar was also followed by a rape allegation published in the media, which was later found to be based on a fake police report. Pishevar resigned from his company Sherpa Capital after the allegations in order to fight "the smear campaign against me".
There was also a political impact to the stories. Pishevar had been a big fundraiser for Democrats, including both of Barack Obama's presidential campaigns. Some high profile Democrats in 2017, such as Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, rerouted the donations Pishevar made to their campaigns after the scandal. For the next several years, he was apparently no longer in the political fundraising game.
But now Pishevar has slowly returned to the public scene, far from Silicon Valley – now in Miami, where he has moved following the allegations. He has started several new businesses in the city.
He has also returned to the world of politics, as evidenced by the Yang fundraiser. After the allegations surfaced in late 2017, Pishevar's political donations almost dried up. But in December 2020, he cut the checks of Republican candidates running for the Senate in Georgia. Pishevar also spent time with the tech-friendly mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, helping him prepare the city for transplants in Silicon Valley.
Now he has established connections with the possible next New York mayor. Yang is considered to be the front runner in this fall's mayor's race because of his national profile. It's also popular with technical executives: Tuesday's event is billed as a conversation between Yang and Chamath Palihapitiya, an early Facebook manager. Other technicians in both New York and the San Francisco Bay Area have signed up to co-host the virtual event.
According to a copy of the invitation, tickets cost between $ 100 and $ 2,000.
Support Vox explanatory journalism
At Vox, we want to answer your most important questions every day and provide you and our audiences around the world with information that empowers you through understanding. Vox's work reaches more people than ever before, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism is consuming resources. Your financial contribution is not a donation, but it does allow our staff to continue offering free articles, videos and podcasts to everyone who needs them. Please consider contributing to Vox today, starting at $ 3.