RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal has said he will not quit the company over his domestic abuse charges despite TechCrunch axing it as sponsor of the Disrupt NY conference.
Chahal was arrested and charged with beating his girlfriend in August last year. The incident was filmed on mobile phone, however it was acquired by the police without a warrant making it inadmissible in court. The victim also decided not to cooperate meaning Chahal was offered three years of probation and community service if he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence and battery charges.
In an open letter to the RadiumOne board published yesterday, 26 April,, Leena Rao, a senior editor at TechCrunch, explained the decision to drop RadiumOne.
"I am afraid that this world is at risk of being a place where people are known to sacrifice ethics, and values, and sometimes genuine human decency in exchange for making money. This scares me, as does the fact that a violent, angry man is being left to prosper without full responsibility and retribution for his crimes," she said.
Co-editors, Alexia Tsotsis and Matthew Panzarino, also said the TechCrunch team was “united” in the decision on both the editorial and the business side.
“We will not condone, support, or deal with proven bad actors in our community. Their business is not welcome on our pages, at our hackathons or at our events,” they added.
Less than 24-hours after the announcement was made, Chahal posted an article titled 'Can You Handle the Truth?' on his blog defending his actions. However, he didn’t acknowledge the decision by TechCrunch and, despite reports that the RadiumOne board is considering removing him from the position, Chahal vowed to make it a "hugely successful" company.
“I fully understand the outrage of those who believe I got off “lightly” as asserted by numerous postings on social media sites. But the $500 fine I agreed to pay, the equivalent of a speeding ticket, is simply what those misdemeanors require, and in no way reflects the toll that this ordeal has exacted on me […] The dollar cost to my business and my reputation is incalculable,” he wrote.
“I apologize to my family, my friends, employees, my customers and my investors all who have suffered from this bad publicity related to my personal matter. I have learned a lot from this experience, and I will continue to grow. As CEO of RadiumOne, I vow to make it a hugely successful company, a great place to work, and a wonderful partner in the community.”
People have taken to Twitter praising TechCrunch, including Twitter MD Bruce Daisley.
— Bruce Daisley (@brucedaisley) April 26, 2014
Good decision @TechCrunch to drop RadiumOne. Many should follow your lead!
— Kristine L Dickson (@NolaKLD) April 27, 2014
— Thursday Bram (@thursdayb) April 26, 2014