Disgrace: RadiumOne Allowing CEO To Remain After Beating His Girlfriend

from the say-goodbye dept

There's been a lot of talk on various tech sites over the past few days concerning the disgraceful situation involving internet ad giant RadiumOne and its CEO Gurbaksh "G" Chahal. Chahal was arrested last year and charged with 45 counts for apparently beating his girlfriend -- hitting her 117 times over the course of half an hour, all caught on a security camera in his home. The legal case more or less fell apart when the judge said that police seizing the video violated the 4th Amendment (they did so without a warrant). Without that evidence, and with the woman refusing to cooperate, prosecutors worked out a deal and Chahal plead guilty to two charges -- one domestic violence battery and one battery -- and got three years probation and a mandatory 52-week domestic violence training program.

Having covered many, many stories in which law enforcement violates the 4th Amendment and piles on charges on someone, there isn't much to comment on in the legal case. Police should have had a warrant to get that video, clearly -- and it's on them that they did not do that. You can't fault the judge for tossing out illegally seized evidence. But, at no point has anyone denied that the video exists or that it shows Chahal hitting his girlfriend 117 times. Given that, plenty of people are reasonably wondering (1) why Chahal is still CEO of a giant ad company that's expected to IPO soon and (2) why his board/investors has refused to respond to questions about Chahal.

There has been plenty of talk recently about how welcoming (or not) the tech industry is to females. Some of the stories of "brogrammers" or "bro" culture strike me as exaggerating reality. It exists in some cases, but it is far from true everywhere. Plenty of startups that I've spent time with not only seem to create diverse and welcoming environments, but often go out of their way to create such supportive cultures. But, at the same time, it's clear that not every tech company is like that, and many engineers -- both female and male -- have been turned off by such cultures (though not enough speak out when they see it). The industry itself needs to do a much better job of creating welcoming environments and one obvious and important way to do so is to not condone abhorrent behavior, such as that which Chahal engaged in. Leaving Chahal in charge of RadiumOne is an implicit statement that such behavior is somehow acceptable. That, by itself, is unacceptable.

The fact that the board and RadiumOne's investors have not spoken out creates not just a huge blackeye for the company, but for the wider tech industry as a whole.

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  1. identicon
    zip, 28 Apr 2014 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: cultural insensitivity?

    "I don't think wife-beating was ever "accepted" in Western society, not for a long time anyway. In the 19th/early 20th centuries, "cruelty" was one of the few grounds on which a woman could divorce her husband in the UK. It perhaps wasn't considered as seriously evil then as it is now, and there was the ingrained idea that only ne'er-do-well lower-class thugs, and not, say, successful businessmen, ever beat their wives. But it was never considered acceptable."

    In the US, it was long established in common law that a husband had a right -- if not a duty -- to beat his wife as he saw fit. (this was an era when public floggings were common) But wife-beating was never sanctioned by law, even if it wasn't illegal.

    In the late 19th century, courts started challenging that ancient custom. Though oddly enough, the chief issue was not about questioning this "husbands prerogative" -- but over technical details, such as the maximum diameter of rod that should be permissible in such a beating.

    An 1868 North Carolina case, State v. Rhodes, said this:

    "It is not true that boys have a right to fight; nor is it true that a husband has a right to whip his wife. And if he had, it is not easily seen how the thumb is the standard of size for the instrument which he may use, as some of the old authorities have said; and in deference to which was his Honorís charge. A light blow, or many light blows, with a stick larger than the thumb, might produce no injury; but a switch half the size might be so used as to produce death. The standard is the effect produced, and not the manner of producing it, or the instrument used."

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