When the CEO of an online advertising platform that’s about to go public gets caught on tape dragging and beating his girlfriend 117 times in half an hour, would you still invest in the company?
Gurbaksh Chahal, the 31-year-old CEO of RadiumOne was charged with dozens of domestic violence accounts after it was alleged that he beat his girlfriend, during a dispute that prosecutors say was fueled by jealousy. The incident was caught on camera by his apartment complex’s security footage, but Chahal still managed to escape 45 felony charges of domestic violence after his lawyer got the footage thrown out of court, (claiming it had been seized illegally.)
Without the evidence, Chahal pled guilty to two misdemeanors of domestic violence and battery and got off with a minor fine and no jail time. The multi-millionaire CEO showed no signs of remorse, and later lashed out on Twitter at the growing calls for his resignation among fellow tech CEOs and investors, calling the accusations “exaggerated.”
In case you needed a reminder of Chahal’s career, in 2007 he sold his analytics company Blue Lithium to Yahoo for 300M, and then was hailed by Oprah as brilliant, rich and eligible bachelor when he appeared on her show about young entrepreneurs. OK then.
Despite the fact that hard evidence exists of him viciously beating a woman, Chahal got off with barely any punishment, and will return to his job and probably make a ton of money as RadiumOne goes public. Remember, this isn’t just an “alleged” incident, it’s an admission of guilt. As the San Francisco DA spokesperson put it:
“The defendant acknowledges guilt, is placed on domestic violence probation and has to take domestic violence classes.”
How does anyone with a conscience still do business with RadiumOne? How does the tech press still report on the company going public without talking about the horrific actions of its CEO? And most of all, how does anyone still buy stock in a company run by a man who hit his girlfriend repeatedly in the head, dragged her from the bed to the floor, kicked her, obstructed her breathing and threatened to kill her.
There’s an easy answer to that one. You don’t.