Malaysian entrepreneur Cheryl Yeoh has written a blog post claiming ousted 500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure sexually assaulted her.
She recounts a night three years ago when she was left alone with McClure in her apartment after a meeting and she says the investor repeatedly propositioned her to sleep with him. Even after Yeoh asked him to leave and reminded him of her then-boyfriend, McClure allegedly persisted:
“He pushed himself onto me to the point where I was backed into a corner, made contact to kiss me, and said something along the lines of – ‘Just one night, please just this one time.'”
Again, Yeoh beckoned him to leave, and he did. “Once he was gone, still in shock and in tears, I immediately called my boyfriend at the time and told him what had just happened,” she says.
“The fact that I had to say no multiple times, and that he had push himself onto me and kissed me without my consent was way more than crossing the line of inappropriateness. It’s sexual assault.”
Yeoh adds that this isn’t the first time McClure had propositioned her. Yeoh recounts two separate occasions when McClure asked her to drop by his hotel room because he had a bottle of wine.
She rejected the first request but accepted the second, though nothing untoward happened.
“We chatted all night over a bottle of wine, Dave sitting across the room from me the whole time, relating to me how he was lonely and an entrepreneur just like all of us, that nobody understands his side of the story as well as his own failures, struggles, and insecurities,” she writes.
In response to Yeoh’s blog post, 500 Startups released this statement:
“We appreciate Cheryl speaking up and realize how upsetting and painful it is for her to have gone through that experience and have the courage to speak up. We can only hope our efforts in changing 500 can help create a safe and effective platform for female founders around the world.”
Yeoh, for her part, says that she still believes in 500 Startups. “I sincerely believe in the work that 500 is doing and have nothing but good things to say about the rest of their team,” she writes.
McClure was demoted from day-to-day duties after sexual harassment allegations against him first came to light. He later stepped down from being general partner at 500 Startups.
Yeoh was the CEO of MaGIC, an innovation agency funded by the Malaysian government.
Read the blog post here.