A letter from disgraced venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck to one of his sexual assault victims, Niniane Wang, CEO and founder of Evertoon, has recently surfaced wherein Caldbeck threatened Wang with legal action should she refuse to cease and desist speaking about “a number of false statements” regarding the incident.
The letter, written by Kerr & Wagstaffe, LLP, was given to BuzzFeed by a source close to the case. Although the letter has recently surfaced this week, it dates back to July 27. It reads:
“Dr. Ms. Wang:
“Our firm has been retained by Justin Caldbeck to address false statements that have been made by you. Let me begin by saying Justin is extremely remorseful for his prior actions that made you uncomfortable. He is accountable for those actions and has apologized publicly. He understands those two things will not erase what he has done. However, they are important steps in not only his personal evolution, but also in what he hopes will be the catalyst for a postie evolution when it comes to how women are treated and in driving gender equity. He is continuing to work on himself to better understand his mistakes, and more importantly, how he can help create positive change in the industry.
“However, it has come to our attention that you have made a number of false statements about Justin in the media, most recently at a well attended Fortune media conference. The intent of this letter is to request that you stop making these false statements and that you correct them.
“First, you stated that Justin threatened a reporter who was writing about the harassment allegations made against him and insinuated that he threatened litigation before the article came out. This is categorically untrue. Reed Albergotti from The Information has unequivocally stated that Justin never threatened him in any way. Mr. Albergotti also confirmed that he never told you he felt threatened by Justin. In fact, he specifically told you he did not feel threatened.”
“Second, you stated that Justin threatened you or tried to “pay you off” by inquiring about funding your company. This is not true and lacks context that, as you are aware, is important. You had asked Justin a matter of weeks before the article to introduce you and your company, Evertoon, to Binary companies (please see the attached email, Exh. A). You offered to give them a discounted rate and followed up repeatedly while telling him that you ‘hoped things were great at Binary!’ leaving him with no indication whatsoever that you were angry or uncomfortable with him. When Justin notified you that none of the companies were interested, only then does it appear that you decided to go on the record for the story. As you are also aware, Justin had no way of knowing you were involved in the article when he sent his email to you. Mr. Albergotti has also confirmed that fact.
“Third, you falsely stated that Justin threatened that people who spoke out against him would never work in the industry again. That is another categorically false statement.
“While Justin requests that you remedy these false allegations, he continues to have deep regret over making you feel uncomfortable. While Justin disputes a number of the specific allegations that have been made against him and has a different recollection of the events with you, he continues to have deep regret over making you feel uncomfortable and recognizes that it is not ok. That being said, repeating other stories as facts when they are not is not something he can allow.
“Your three statements discussed above are false and injure Justin’s reputation. We respectfully ask you to cease and desist from making false statements about Justin. We also request that you make a public statement correcting the false statements described above. The last thing we want is to have to deal with this in a court of law and our hope is that you are willing to do the two things requested above to avoid that. Please note that this is not a threat, simply a communication of our desired outcome. While Justin is accountable for his actions, he cannot allow false statements to continue to be made about him.
“Justin again expresses deep sorrow that he made you feel uncomfortable at any time. He had no such intention but acknowledges that intention doesn’t matter if he made you uncomfortable and for that he is profoundly sorry. He wishes he had known earlier and would very much like an opportunity to make amends to you and anyone else he offended. That being said, he is uncomfortable with the misrepresentation of facts pertaining to the above issues.
“We look forward to learning of your timely compliance with the requests in this letter. If we have not heard from you within ten business days, we reserve the right to take legal action. As stated above, we would prefer to resolve this matter without litigation. We certainly hope it’s not a path any of us need to walk down.”
Caldbeck and Wang first made headlines back in June when Wang went public with her account of the sexual assault she had endured at Caldbeck’s hands. Caldbeck initially declined to comment, but within 24 hours had stepped down from his position at Binary Capital, Mr. Albergotti also confirmed that he never told you he felt threatened by Justin.
As Wang’s account of sexual harassment sparked a bigger conversation about the gender imbalance within the Tech and VC industries, Caldbeck continued to stay withdrawn from the media, only emerging to occasionally commit an act or two of public self-flagellation.
And as for the demands that Caldbeck’s letter outlined to Wang, they seem to remain unfulfilled, as Wang determinedly continues to speak out against Caldbeck’s actions.
“A big part of the reason why I said I didn’t believe Justin Caldbeck could change overnight was that he had been doing this for 10 years and had been actively thwarting attempts to reveal him,” Wang said on an August 9 podcast for tech publication Recode. “So it was not as though he was ignorant of what he was doing.”
It remains to be seen if Caldbeck and Wang are headed to court over the matter.