Start-up GiveTree CEO Sam Joel quits after horrific LinkedIn posts to women came to light

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Start-up GiveTree CEO Sam Joel quits after horrific LinkedIn posts to women came to light

The chief executive of a virtual start-up designed 'for good' has resigned after posting a series of attacks against women in Australia's tech industr

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The chief executive of a virtual start-up designed ‘for good’ has resigned after posting a series of attacks against women in Australia’s tech industry.

Sam Joel, the founder of GiveTree – a virtual game where players can donate to charities through crypto, stepped down from his role on Tuesday afternoon.

The decision followed a string of offensive LinkedIn posts over the weekend and his former victims coming forward.

Scientist turned Sydney venture capitalist Elaine Stead was one of several women Joel attacked over the networking platform, with the majority of his comments deleted on Sunday.

Public relations manager Hannah Moreno was once told by Joel to, ‘Get off your period. Get good. Earn your salary with skill not pr lol. Pathetic’, The Australian Financial Review reported.

In another comment on LinkedIn, Joel wrote: ‘Are you single? Should we make a better baby? Assuming I wanna bang you, because let’s be honest – you look fat.’

Another of Joel’s posts described diversity as ‘the dumbest s**t of the entire century’ and said women ‘have somehow secured majority employment in most verticals now. And still. Complaining. Classic women’.

Sam Joel (above) has stepped down as CEO of GiveTree after a series of sexist posts attacking women in tech through LinkedIn

Sam Joel (above) has stepped down as CEO of GiveTree after a series of sexist posts attacking women in tech through LinkedIn

Sam Joel (above) has stepped down as CEO of GiveTree after a series of sexist posts attacking women in tech through LinkedIn

His LinkedIn account has since been deleted. 

GiveTree issued an apology on Joel’s behalf on Tuesday.

‘Unfortunately these recent comments form part of a larger and ongoing pattern of behaviour for Sam, that urgently needs to change,’ it said.

‘Sam would therefore like to wholeheartedly apologise for the damage and harm he has caused these, and all, women through his words and actions.

‘He understands that any act of sexism against one woman makes the world a less safe place for all women.

‘He acknowledges that this behaviour creates the type of hostile work environment for women that contributes to the systemic disadvantage that prevents women reaching the same career aspirations as their male counterparts.

‘He understands it also contributes to a broader societal problem of gendered disrespect, which spans a spectrum from discrimination to violence.’

It added Joel is taking ‘concrete steps’ to improve his behaviour by stepping down as CEO and attending therapy.

Joel also attached his own apology to the post, saying: ‘I sincerely and deeply apologise to the women and men I’ve hurt with my inappropriate words and actions.

‘Sexism and bullying is never okay in any situation and no one should be subject to harassment in any setting.

‘I understand the hurt and damage caused by my actions and words and I intend to take concrete steps to do better and adjust my character.

‘I am committing to therapy to address my underlying issues with sexism and will issue a personal apology to anyone I have hurt in the past. I also vow to never hurt anyone in this way again.’

However, several women in the comments under GiveTree’s post called out the company for ‘speaking for’ Joel, rather than him apologising himself.

Adding to the sting was that, at the time, it seemed Joel would remain CEO of GiveTree. 

Michelle Reeves (above), CEO of digital fashion company Mavion, called out GiveTree's LinkedIn post about the situation as 'selfish' and so impersonal it 'wreaks of an apology from ChatGPT'

Michelle Reeves (above), CEO of digital fashion company Mavion, called out GiveTree's LinkedIn post about the situation as 'selfish' and so impersonal it 'wreaks of an apology from ChatGPT'

Michelle Reeves (above), CEO of digital fashion company Mavion, called out GiveTree’s LinkedIn post about the situation as ‘selfish’ and so impersonal it ‘wreaks of an apology from ChatGPT’

Among them was Michelle Reeves, CEO of digital fashion company Mavion, who said the post was so impersonal it ‘wreaks of an apology from ChatGPT’.

‘The ecosystem is better when inclusion is at the heart of growth,’ she wrote.

‘A venture so focused on how emerging tech can positively impact the world should inherently know this. 

‘Since that’s not abundantly obvious to Sam, it’s unclear why he should remain at the helm.

‘This apology is selfish. It’s about how to help poor Sam “adjust his character”.’

‘Where’s the commitment to work with women who can course correct GiveTree’s shortcomings of the past?’

Joel was inspired to create GiveTree three years ago while homeless and living out of an internet cafe in Sydney.

His struggles with drug and alcohol addictions as well as his mental health reportedly drive him to create the game ‘for good’ where part of every gamer transaction is donated to charity.

He hopes therapy will help him address the post-traumatic stress disorder he has from the hard period of his life and the loss of family members, which he believes contributed to his sexist behaviour.

Several other incidents of Joel attacking women were reported to AFR, including some who described his abuse as frequent.

Earlier this year, Joel had approached Claire Bristow, who works as a senior investment associate at Skalata Ventures, for funding.

GiveTree (above) is a virtual game where part of every gamer transaction is donated to charity; Joel stepped down from leading the company after attacking several women

GiveTree (above) is a virtual game where part of every gamer transaction is donated to charity; Joel stepped down from leading the company after attacking several women

GiveTree (above) is a virtual game where part of every gamer transaction is donated to charity; Joel stepped down from leading the company after attacking several women

When Ms Bristow could not meet with him straight away, he sent scathing messages to her boss on LinkedIn where he called her a ‘terrible, incompetent employee’ and called for her to be fired.

Also this year, Joel was snubbed from the Techstars’ start-up accelerator program, which would have provided a small investment in GiveTree.

Instead of taking the rejection in his stride, Joel launched an attack on the women who were selected.

‘So far, it’s not looking good for techstars. I mean you are both obviously very good looking females – but you have no finsiehd [sic] product,’ he said.

In other posts, he told two women their accomplishments were ‘nothing inspiring’ and described their posts as ‘just a bunch of word vomit women-supporting-women just cause nonsense’.

Joel previously part of Fishburners, an early-stage startup network, but was ‘asked to leave’ following claims of bullying and harassment last year.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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