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Square COO, Stanford alum, resigns over sexual harassment allegations

Aaron Sekhri co-wrote this article.

Keith Rabois ’91, chief operating officer of mobile payments company Square and former Stanford Law School student, has resigned over allegations of sexual harassment.

A Square employee alleges that Rabois sexually harassed him and that the company was aware of but failed to act on the situation. The company has refused to disclose the employee’s identity. Rabois has denied the allegations.

Rabois, in a lengthy blog post, explained that he had a “physical relationship” with his accuser, a man he met “via mutual friends” and helped prepare for job interviews. According to his post, Rabois resigned not as an admission of guilt, but because he believed the scrutiny of his personal affairs would hurt the company too much.

“I decided to resign… so my colleagues could continue to do great work without the distraction that a lawsuit would most certainly bring,” he wrote.

No lawsuit has been filed against Rabois or Square.

Square has released a statement accepting Rabois’ resignation, saying that he “exercised poor judgment.”

The San Francisco-based company secured a $25 million investment in August 2012 from Starbucks and is positioning itself to better compete with other technology companies like eBay and Google. Rabois joined the company in 2010 and oversaw its growth from 17 employees to over 400 over his tenure.

Rabois, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford, had a publicized history of homophobia at Stanford. In 1992, while he was working towards a law degree, Rabois apparently uttered a number of anti-gay slurs in the direction of the home of an RF in Otero House in Wilbur Hall.

Rabois allegedly said, “F—-t! Hope you die of AIDS!” and “Can’t wait until you die, f—-t,” and later, in a letter to The Daily, framed it in a free speech context, arguing he was trying to be “outrageous enough to provoke a thought of, ‘Wow, if he can say that, I guess I can say a little more than I thought’.”

The Fundamental Standard was not applied to Rabois, and amid the on-campus furor over his remarks, he dropped out of the Stanford Law program to continue his studies at Harvard.

No lawsuit has yet been filed against Rabois or Square, and Rabois has said to the Wall Street Journal that he is “completely confident that all the facts will come out and I will be vindicated.”


This story will be updated

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Edward Ngai

Edward Ngai

Edward Ngai is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously, he has worked as a news desk editor, staff development editor and columnist. He was president and editor-in-chief of The Daily for Vol. 244 (2013-2014). Edward is a junior from Vancouver, Canada studying political science. This summer, he is the Daniel Pearl Memorial Intern at the Wall Street Journal.