Then we realized what the connection was: all of these behaviors are the actions of someone who feels entitled to other people’s property – regardless of whether it’s someone else’s ideas, work, money, or body. Another common factor was the desire to dominate and control other people. In venture capital, you see the same people accused of sexual harassment and assault also doing things like blacklisting founders for objecting to abuse and calling people nasty epithets on stage at conferences. This connection between dominance and sexual harassment also shows up as overt, personal racism (that’s one reason why we track both racism and sexism in venture capital).
So what is the Al Capone theory of sexual harassment? It’s simple: people who engage in sexual harassment or assault are also likely to steal, plagiarize, embezzle, engage in overt racism, or otherwise harm their business.
Valerie Aurora and Leigh Honeywell on correlations.
Incidentally, the Al Capone reference is to the fact that people engaged in illegal smuggling are more likely to also engage in tax fraud (i.e. how the feds caught Capone, and why money laundering is now A Thing), and not a comment of Capone’s propensity to sexual assault per se.