Keith Rabois | News | Tech

Square COO Rabois Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment 'Shakedown'

Keith Rabois, the COO of the multi-billion dollar mobile payments company Square, stepped down late last week amid a sexual harassment lawsuit by his boyfriend who landed a job at Square with Rabois' help. Rabois is calling the legal action a "shakedown".

RaboisIn a Tumblr post, Rabois told followers he had resigned, and offered details about his relationship and the situation:

Last week, a New York-based attorney threatened Square and myself with a lawsuit. I am told this lawsuit would allege that the relationship was not consensual, and would go on to accuse me of some pretty horrible things. I was told that only a payment of millions of dollars will make this go away, and that my career, my reputation, and my livelihood will be threatened if Square and I don’t pay up.

I realize that continuing any physical relationship after he began working at Square was poor judgment on my part. But let me be unequivocal with the facts: (1) The relationship was welcome. (2) Square did not know of the relationship before a lawsuit was threatened; it came as a complete surprise to the company. (3) He never received nor was denied any reward or benefits based on our relationship. And (4), I did not do the horrendous things I am told I may be accused of. While I have certainly made mistakes, this threat feels like a shakedown, and I will defend myself to the full extent of the law.

The SF Chronicle takes a look at Rabois' background:

Rabois, who was an often-quoted spokesman for Square, is a member of the "PayPal Mafia" from his time as an early executive vice president there. He met PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel while both were students at Stanford University.

Rabois left Stanford Law School after a 1992 incident in which he unleashed a barrage of antigay remarks directed at a faculty member, according to a Chronicle report. The incident ignited a campaign by other law school students denouncing Rabois, but Stanford officials couldn't discipline him because of free speech protections.

In a book and in later interviews, Thiel said his friend had been trying to challenge the university's political correctness rules. Rabois' resume includes executive positions at LinkedIn and Slide. His LinkedIn profile also notes his seven months as policy director for Vice President Dan Quayle, when he helped develop speeches on China, the American family and "extending the VP's 'Murphy Brown' legacy."

Rabois says he resigned to spare his colleagues from "the distraction that a lawsuit would most certainly bring." He also said he has a big new project in the works.

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  1. Not exactly a convincing defense. But I'm sure he can get a job at GOProud.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 28, 2013 9:17:33 AM

  2. Paul R, I was thinking the same thing. A lot of self-loathing going on there, yah?

    Posted by: Pitt90 | Jan 28, 2013 9:32:53 AM

  3. He has a Ken Mehlman-like twisted quality - superior intelligence, enormous capacity for work, and a nut job on account of his troubled sexuality.

    If the situation were as one-sided as he purports he would not be resigning.

    Yelling homophobic slurs while at Stanford Law, Policy Director for Dan Quayle, and resigning over a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit - impressive resume! lol

    I try not to judge, but the whole thing is twisted.

    Posted by: Fahd | Jan 28, 2013 9:33:29 AM

  4. Sounds like a jerk.

    Posted by: Mawm | Jan 28, 2013 9:54:18 AM

  5. FAHD... superior intellect? No, I don't think so. I have learned that entrepreneurial attitudes resulting in outsized wealth rarely has to do with intellect, and more frequently has to do with ego.

    Posted by: Dan COBB | Jan 28, 2013 10:04:45 AM

  6. "He never received nor was denied any reward or benefits based on our relationship."

    He got a job at the company when the company wasn't aware of the relationship. I'm pretty sure that's a benefit.

    Posted by: Joe | Jan 28, 2013 10:22:08 AM

  7. LOL

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 28, 2013 10:23:40 AM

  8. This guy sounds like a prince. The only one likely worse, is this boyfriend who likely leveraged some special treatment into a big payout.

    Whatever happened, settling out of court is definitely standard operating procedure in situations like this. The details never come out & the whole thing stays out of the press.

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | Jan 28, 2013 10:40:34 AM

  9. Mr. Rabois seems genuine and sincere. I hope things workout for him.

    Posted by: Jay | Jan 28, 2013 10:41:20 AM

  10. Dropped out of law school after shouting anti-gay slurs "in the direction of a lecturer's home." Worked for Dan Quayle and was responsible for "extending the VP's 'Murphy Brown' legacy." Makes our boys at GOProud look like amateurs.

    Posted by: Gigi | Jan 28, 2013 10:48:36 AM

  11. @Jay LOL!

    Posted by: Gigi | Jan 28, 2013 10:49:18 AM

  12. Rabois sounds like a twisted gay Republican piece of sh*t so I don't believe his excuses unless they're backed up with lots of evidence.

    The 'slurs' he yelled at a faculty member? "F*ggot! Hope you die of AIDS!" and "Can't wait until you die, f*ggot."

    Obviously he's a real class act. And to defend those words by saying he was "challenging the Univ political correctness rule"? Uh-huh. B*tch, please.

    Just another anti-gay gay Republican who doesn't give a sh*t about anyone but himself.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jan 28, 2013 10:53:16 AM

  13. Ah so just because he had issues relating to his sexuality he deserves being sued, regardless of the merits of such suit? Give me a break, I thought we were better than this.

    Posted by: Jay | Jan 28, 2013 11:13:20 AM

  14. He HAS been sued- whether he "deserved" it remains to be seen. All I or anyone else here said is that, given his rather ugly anti-gay past, his protestations of innocence should be taken with a large grain of salt.

    Maybe he's changed a lot since he yelled at a (presumably) gay faculty member that he hopes he dies of AIDS, but the level of repression and denial it would take for a young gay man to do that doesn't speak well of him or his values. Was it EVER OK for someone to do that, no matter their political beliefs? No. So I'll hold off seeing his as the 'victim' in this situation until he proves that is the case.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jan 28, 2013 12:42:01 PM

  15. Circumstantially, there are certainly enough evidence to suggest sexual harassment was possible. He doesn't deny pursuing this guy, even grooming him for a job, and probably this guy did allow some of it to happen in order to procure a position at this company via the advances of its COO. And after landing this job did not want to continue anything beyond professional interaction and Rabois wanted more. His Stanford past is not material; just a slight distraction that does give us a glimpse of his past mentality.

    Posted by: andy | Jan 28, 2013 12:45:40 PM

  16.'s as if every gay republican has a deep-seated desire to prove Gay Liberals, and everyone else, right.

    i mean, WOW.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 28, 2013 12:48:50 PM

  17. From the description of his past, this current situation sounds like a bit of karmic adjustment.

    Posted by: We are Here | Jan 28, 2013 1:09:04 PM

  18. I agree with Gigi -- whatever happened at Square, the guy loses a great deal of empathy for making such ridiculously nasty comments. While I would normally chalk it up to "youthful indiscretion," first year of law school is certainly the point at which you should have grown beyond schoolyard taunts.

    Posted by: bboy | Jan 28, 2013 2:37:36 PM

  19. Maybe the part that wasn't consensual was sex with a closet Republican.

    Posted by: jimstoic | Jan 28, 2013 2:53:08 PM

  20. Since when has he been out exactly? Was he out at Square? Was he outed by the lawsuit?

    Posted by: JJ | Jan 28, 2013 2:58:24 PM

  21. "After exiting the dorm lounge, witnesses said, one of the students began screaming "Faggot! Hope you die of AIDS!" and "Can't wait until you die, faggot," in the direction of the resident fellow cottage of lecturer Dennis Matthies. University officials later questioned two of the students, who denied making the comments. The third participant - first-year law student Keith Rabois - refused to answer their questions, but sent a letter to the Stanford Daily confirming the allegations."

    And another closet case gets his due.

    Posted by: Gry | Jan 28, 2013 4:36:44 PM

  22. What is it with gay people that they buckle all-the-time when stuff like this happens? Add him to the LONG list of gay people who have quit or resigned after a relationship became public.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Jan 28, 2013 5:09:29 PM

  23. What a jug-eared prick.

    Posted by: Sir Priz'd | Jan 28, 2013 5:15:03 PM

  24. He deserves the lawsuit. Secretly hiring your lover is a perk. We gays swallow a lot of things, but not this bitter pill buddy!

    Posted by: Kissyfur | Jan 28, 2013 10:38:09 PM

  25. I guess there are no other companies where the boss got his girfriend or wife a job??

    Posted by: HMMM | Jan 28, 2013 11:15:31 PM

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