Startup Prodigy Brian Wong Charged With Sexual Assault from Incident at SXSW
By Carl Samson
March 18, 2019
A man who gained recognition in Silicon Valley as one of the youngest entrepreneurs to receive venture capital funding has formally been charged with rape.
On Friday, a grand jury indicted Brian Wong, 27, on felony charges of sexual assault over a series of events that took place during an evening in Austin, Texas in March 2016.
The Vancouver native co-founded Kiip, a mobile advertising network, in 2010 at the age of 19.
He has reportedly raised more than $30 million over the years from backers such as American Express and Verizon. He also authored “The Cheat Code,” an entrepreneurial, self-help book published in September 2016.
In an affidavit filed in January, a plaintiff identified only as “Samantha Luu” alleged that Wong had raped her during a night of the 2016 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, according to Bloomberg.
Luu, a Rice University student, allegedly drove 160 miles (257.5 kilometers) from Houston to meet Wong at a party in the city.
There, she drank half a glass of wine and later became “disoriented, dizzy, and physically impaired,” KXAN reported.
She eventually found herself in Wong’s hotel, where he allegedly pushed her down to his bed and undressed her against her will.
Luu, who managed to kick Wong off, then yelled “rape,” according to the affidavit. He allegedly responded, “How am I raping you?”
Luu claimed that she had passed out, but awoke to another attack in just a few hours. She later drove back to Houston and reported the incident to Rice University Police, who then referred the case to Austin Police Department.
Wong, who has “fully cooperated” with police since the allegations emerged, “passed a polygraph examination,” according to his lawyer Sam Bassett.
Wong claimed that he met his date on Tinder and maintained that the sexual activity on their first meeting was consensual.
However, “she falsely complained of this activity being non-consensual” on a second date.
“Brian Wong is innocent of this three-year-old baseless accusation leveled against him,” Bassett said in a statement. “The evidence will show that Mr. Wong acted appropriately at all times.”
Wong has since been asked to take a leave of absence from Kiip.
A full statement from Wong’s lawyer can be read below:
“Brian Wong is innocent of this three-year-old baseless accusation leveled against him. Since being made aware of it, he has fully cooperated with law enforcement and successfully passed a polygraph examination regarding the evening in question.
“The accuser placed her profile on Tinder seeking a date in San Francisco, during which she engaged in consensual sexual activity with Mr. Wong. She later travelled to Austin to visit Mr. Wong and to stay at his hotel. They again engaged in consensual sexual activity and spent the night together. It was after this second date that she falsely complained of this activity being nonconsensual.
“The evidence will show that Mr. Wong acted appropriately at all times, and we look forward to his vindication.”
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