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HE SAID SHE SAID

A prominent tech investor is accused of paying an alleged “sex slave” with charitable funds

By Alice Truong

Over the weekend, the internet exploded when a prominent tech investor was slapped with a lawsuit from a woman who claimed to be his contracted sex slave.

Like the Ellen Pao case against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the salacious details in the lawsuit are providing a rare glimpse into the typically private lives of venture capitalists. The allegations include rape, sodomy, sexually transmitted disease, fraudulent use of charitable funds, and extortion for tens of millions of dollars.

Sequoia Capital
Michael Goguen

The plaintiff, Amber Baptiste, is suing Michael Goguen, who until recently was a partner at Sequoia Capital, for not paying the $40 million she claims is legally due to her as part of a contract they signed in 2014.

Though the case has become a he said-she said story, the two parties agree on this much: They had a sexual relationship that spanned more than a decade, and that Goguen has paid out $10 million of the $40 million outlined in their contract.

Baptiste claims that Goguen had wired the $10 million to two companies that she set up, including a charitable organization so he could write the funds off as donations. A lawyer for Goguen has not responded to Quartz regarding this claim.

But Goguen is shooting back with a counterclaim that was signed by his attorney on March 14. In it, Goguen refutes any notion that Baptiste was a victim who suffered physical and emotional trauma at his hands, including allegations of repeated rape and an instance of sodomy in 2012 that left her “nearly hemorrhaging to death.”

Instead, he portrays Baptiste, who was a dancer at a strip club when they met, as a mistress who tried to extort him as her jealousy toward his wife grew. Regarding the night in question when they had anal sex, he cites emails from Baptiste that said she “would never erase that night for anything” and that the anal tear was “not a big deal.”

Goguen has refused to pay out the remaining $30 million because of an alleged breach of contract that prohibited her from communicating with him except to discuss the contract. Further, Goguen is now seeking the $10 million he paid her, plus unspecified damages.

To prove that Baptiste was “at all times a willing and enthusiastic sexual partner,” Goguen’s lawyer has included as evidence Baptiste’s text messages, including photos she sent of herself in lingerie. The counterclaim also notes that “she repeatedly complimented him on his lovemaking, as well as his kind and generous nature.”

With both parties requesting a trial by jury, more details of their relationship will likely surface.

Both their filings are embedded below: