Dori: Local media is to blame for protecting so-called ‘best boss in America’ despite past sexual allegations
Aug 19, 2022, 5:29 PM | Updated: 6:15 pm
(Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
From media darling to the subject of a scathing New York Times (NYT) investigation.
Two days after the charismatic and much-publicized Chief Investment Officer of Gravity Payments, Dan Price, resigned from the Seattle-based company, NYT technology reporter Katie Weise revealed a series of domestic and sexual assaults over the past seven years alleged against the man some called “America’s Top Boss.”
Most recently, one woman filed a police report claiming Price raped her in spring 2021 while she was sleeping and drugged in Palm Springs, Calif. Earlier this year, Seattle-area prosecutors charged Price with assault in a separate incident. Once co-workers learned of these claims, reports of other alleged assaults involving other women started rolling in.
Price, 38, gained notoriety in 2015 when he announced that he would cut his own $1.1 million annual salary to make sure everyone at his 121-person company made at least $70,000 a year. Some in the media introduced the theory that Price was trying to devalue Gravity as a way of getting back at his brother and business partner, who had filed a lawsuit against him.
On Wednesday, Price tweeted that he was resigning from the company because he didn’t want to be a “distraction.”
Much of the focus of Weise’s NYT report centers around Price’s strategy-like approach to creating positive news about himself on social media – primarily Twitter – to bury otherwise negative information.
“ ‘Social allows him to control the narrative,’ ” an employee told Weise for her story.
In other words, the good online news that Price created about himself literally eliminated any questions about his business and personal behaviors.
“Mr. Price found an antidote to obscurity: Social media. Tweet by tweet, his online persona grew back,” Weise wrote in her NYT article. “The bad news faded into the background. It was the opposite of being canceled. Just as social media can ruin someone, so too can it — through time, persistence, and audacity — bury a troubled past.”
Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price charged with sexual assault amid ongoing felony rape investigation
How did he pull it off?
According to Weise, he hired a former Seattle Times housing-beat reporter, Mike Rosenberg, who resigned from the newspaper in 2019 after it was discovered he was sending crude sexual and unwanted tweets to a female reporter in Brooklyn.
Price also convinced his marketing staff to create events casting him in a glowing light. In one case, Weise revealed, Gravity’s marketing team arranged for a 21-year-old female staffer to claim she rallied her coworkers to buy a new Tesla for Price as their way of showing their adulation for him. The woman now claims she did not initiate the “gift” and the two men involved in that promotion shared with Weise that the whole ploy was Price’s idea.
Meanwhile, the positive Twitter and LinkedIn posts were working. Daytime talk show host Kelly Clarkson called Price “the country’s best boss.” Larry King interviewed Price before the TV talk show host died several years ago. Locally, TV reports and podcasters praised him and his progressive socialism.
On the other hand, Weise questioned all of this adulation because of earlier allegations.
Warning signs for the NYT reporter popped when Price’s former wife, Kristie Colón, presented a TEDx talk in 2015 at the University of Kentucky. In it, Colón details the abuse she claims she suffered at the hands of Price, based on journals she kept during their marriage.
When Price learned of the potentially explosive public revelations, Weise wrote, he had it quashed.
Despite all of this, Price continued to be lauded as a hero. Esquire magazine did a cover story where a cover photo had him appearing to walk on water.
Weise deserves credit for her dogged seven-year investigation into Price. His alleged victims deserve respect for their courage in the face of a powerful media darling.
And yet, this report surfaced through The New York Times. Not local media, where this was happening right under their nose. Even in Wednesday’s Seattle Times story about Price’s resignation, the newspaper denied readers a chance to comment.
The reason is because of a media cult which supports anybody who does things on the left. Price’s self-aggrandizing, self-promoting socialist/progressive behavior was lauded by like-minded media. But it is outrageous and it’s excessive and it’s dangerous.
Local news consumers – especially women – deserved better than fawning coverage with little investigative digging. We all do.
Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.