By Nicole Goodkind, CNN Business
Dan Price was the poster child for resisting corporate greed, making headlines in 2015 for setting a minimum $70,000 salary for all employees at the payments company he led — saying he cut his own salary as CEO by 90% to achieve it.
On Wednesday, amid allegations of misconduct and sexual assault including several criminal charges, he resigned from the company he founded in college.
Price’s exit from Gravity Payments comes with the publication of a bombshell New York Times report that alleged Price used his social media platforms to create a reputation as an advocate for higher pay in an effort to mask “a pattern of abuse in his personal life and hostile behavior at his company.”
A 27-year-old model and artist told the Times she and Price had a three-month romance in early 2021 that ended, she alleged, when Price raped her. Price, 38, has denied the allegations, while police in Palm Springs, Calif., told the Times that they had referred the case to local prosecutors, recommending a charge of rape of a drugged victim.
The Times detailed allegations of physical and sexual abuse spanning a decade from five other women, including four who spoke on the record. In a statement posted to his Twitter account Wednesday, Price said he was leaving Gravity Payments to “focus full-time on fighting false accusations made against me.” Neither Price nor Gravity Payments responded to CNN Business’ requests for comment.
Price also tweeted another statement on Wednesday detailing the benefits and perks he has provided to his employees, like unlimited paid time off and 401(k) match programs.
Previous abuse allegations
The Times story alleged that Price was actively pursuing women online “who say he hurt them, both physically and emotionally,” while tweeting messages like “A male president was so angry he lost that he incited a mob against the U.S. Capitol. I never want to hear again that women would be ‘too emotional’ to be president.”
It’s not the first time Price has been accused of abuse. Earlier this year he was charged with fourth-degree assault and reckless driving in Seattle after prosecutors said he forcibly kissed a woman after a dinner meeting and then drove her to a parking lot where he attempted dangerous car stunts while she was inside the vehicle. Price has pleaded not guilty to the charges and awaits trial in October, according to The Seattle Times.
In 2015, the same year he rose to prominence, Price’s ex-wife Kristie Colón said in a TEDx Talk recorded at the University of Kentucky that her ex-husband had beaten and waterboarded her, as the New York Times piece notes. Price has also denied those allegations.
In the end, it may not even have been Price who was advocating for his employees and women on Twitter. The New York Times reports he hired a ghostwriter, Mike Rosenberg, a former real estate writer, to write much of his social media content.
Rosenberg himself resigned from The Seattle Times in 2019 after he was accused of sending sexually explicit messages. Rosenberg told a reporter for the news site Crosscut that the messages were not intended for the person who received them, and he did not respond to CNN Business’ requests for comment.
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