The Al Capone theory of sexual harassment

Valerie Aurora's blog

This post was co-authored by Valerie Aurora and Leigh Honeywell and cross-posted on both of our blogs.

Mural of Al Capone, laughing and smoking a cigar CC BY-SA 2.0 r2hox

We’re thrilled with the recenttrendtowards sexual harassment in the tech industry having actual consequences – for the perpetrator, not the target, for a change. We decided it was time to write a post explaining what we’ve been calling “the Al Capone Theory of Sexual Harassment.” (We can’t remember which of us came up with the name, Leigh or Valerie, so we’re taking joint credit for it.) We developed the Al Capone Theory over several years of researching and recording racism and sexism in computer security, open source software, venture capital, and other parts of the tech industry. To explain, we’ll need a brief historical detour – stick with us.

As you may already know, Al Capone was a famous Prohibition-era bootlegger who, among…

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