I don’t fault Kleiner Perkins for doing everything it could to cast doubt on Pao’s version of events. After all, she sought more than $100 million in damages; a lot of money, even for a wealthy venture capital company. The problem is that they were able to pull it off. They could do it because we live in a culture where it’s too easy to cast doubt on a woman’s version of events. We live in a culture where she can say she was pressured and tricked into a relationship but others will say she participated willingly. In consumer-protection law, it’s illegal for a product’s label to lie about what’s inside; it’s considered false advertising, even fraud. But when one person does this to another, and they buy into it, many call it consent.
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