Tech giant Google has been accused of covering up sexual misconduct claims filed against at least three senior executives, including Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, according to a bombshell report by The New York Times. Perhaps the most disturbing claim against Rubin — an allegation that he pursued multiple “ownership relationships” with women to whom he paid women hundreds of thousands of dollars to behave as though they were his “property” — wasn’t even cited as a reason for his abrupt departure.
When Rubin left Google in October 2014, he was hailed by CEO Larry Page and gifted a $90 million exit package in a move that both parties portrayed as an amicable parting of ways. But behind the scenes, according to sources who spoke with The New York Times, Rubin had been accused of coercing an Android employee with whom he had an extramarital relationship into giving him oral sex in a hotel. The woman, who said she had wanted to end the relationship but was afraid of consequences to her career, broke up with him over the incident and later filed a complaint. After an internal investigation determined that the woman’s claims were credible, the Times reports, Page asked Rubin to resign in order to avoid the fallout of a public scandal.
A civil suit filed this month by Rubin’s ex-wife, Rie Rubin, included screenshots of emails sent by the executive to women with whom he allegedly had “ownership relationships,” the Times reported.
“You will be happy being taken care of,” he wrote in an email from August 2015. “Being owned is kinda like you are my property, and I can loan you to other people.” The fact that Rubin was not only able to get away with such behavior — but to walk away from Google with a $90 million golden parachute — left many shaking their heads in disgust, including Women in the World founder Tina Brown.
Does the absolutely abhorrent behavior of SV execs never end? Andy Rubin's "ownership" email is stunningly awful and he gets to walk away with $90 million https://t.co/0LA5AsKISp pic.twitter.com/dCq1viDRR3
— Tina Brown (@TinaBrownLM) October 26, 2018
Rubin has denied the allegations the against him as a “a smear campaign by my ex-wife to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle.”
“The New York Times story contains numerous inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation,” he said in a statement. “Specifically, I never coerced a woman to have sex in a hotel room.”
Following the publication of the Times story, Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, sent an email to employees stating that the company never gave exit packages to employees fired for sexual harassment, adding that the company had fired 48 people for such behavior over the past two years.
“We are committed to ensuring that Google is a workplace where you can feel safe to do your best work, and where there are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately,” the email read.
Read the full story at The New York Times.