Tech Conference Sparks Outrage For Inviting Convicted Woman-Beater to Speak
A recently concluded conference for blockchain and cryptocurrency investors featured over 30 speakers consisting of pioneers, analysts, founders, CEOs and other industry bigwigs. Unfortunately, one of them was Gurbaksh Chahal, a convicted woman-beater.
The Indian-American tech entrepreneur, who has been sentenced to prison for violating his probation, was fired as the CEO of RadiumOne after a 2014 domestic violence incident.
Chahal was reportedly captured on film hitting and kicking his girlfriend 117 times for a duration of 30 minutes in 2013.
During his three-year-probation, the 35-year-old entrepreneur was found to have assaulted a different woman to which he was sentenced to one year in jail, pending an appeal.
In addition to the physical abuse charges, he is also facing multiple lawsuits from former employees who have accused him of racism, sexism, and threats of violence.
Yet, despite his criminal background, Chahal was given ample time on Tuesday to speak at Coin Agenda Global, a cryptocurrency conference in Las Vegaswhich ran from October 24 through October 26.
Members of the tech community took notice and vented their anger via Twitter, protesting Chahal being among the conference’s “keynote” speakers.
To my peers attending #coinagenda who sat through this and didn’t raise an issue with the organizers – take a hard look at yourself.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Coin Agenda founder Michael Terpin addressed the social media outrage, defending their decision to invite Chahal to speak at a panel at the conference:
“I do not support domestic violence. I also don’t believe in lifetime bans on a businessman speaking about his business.”
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Terpin did agree that there are indeed certain crimes that would merit a lifetime speaking ban but did not specify which.
“Certainly there’s things I would not have somebody speak after,” Terpin was quoted as saying. “I’m not sure what that would be right now, but I would say that — yeah, I don’t want to go in and say specific things. I suppose, you know — like I said, I put my position in there. I don’t really have any further comments.”
Before his abuses went public, Chahal was prominently featured on several television programs, with a notable appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” a role on Fox TV’s “Secret Millionaire” series, and a reference as one of America’s most eligible bachelors on the entertainment television program “Extra.”