This morning, RadiumOne announced a board vote firing its CEO Gurbaksh Chahal. Chahal, always a fairly public figure, has garnered unwanted attention for pleading guilty to domestic abuse. Charged with 45 felony counts of domestic violence, Chahal eventually got off with misdemeanor charges after video evidence showing the assault was deemed inadmissible due to how it was collected.
In some sort of attempt to clear his name, Chahal wrote a lengthy blog post today entitled “Can You Handle The Truth.” It’s worth examining.
Let’s work through some highlights of its odd mixture of self-pity and ego. To begin, Chahal explains his rationale for ‘accepting’ a misdemeanor plea:
I was charged with 45 felony counts of domestic violence. All of those charges were dropped, and ultimately the case settled when the DA’s office recognized they had no case and offered me a misdemeanor plea. I accepted that plea, because after a lot of soul searching I believed I was acting in the best interest of my company, my employees, my customers, my family, my friends and my investors.
So, according to Chahal he only took the deal — forever scarring his reputation as someone who admitted to domestic violence — because he didn’t want to drag out the court proceedings. Implicit to his claim is a presumption of innocence on his part. If you think that you could have won if you had taken the case to the end you either believe in a lack of personal guilt, or coming luck.
That’s odd because Chahal manages to, later in the same post, somehow avoid stating outright that he didn’t strike the woman in question:
I want you to know that this is not an excuse. I know that intimate partner violence is never excusable under any circumstances. I recognize that my temper got the better of me, and I will regret that for the rest of my life. But there is a difference between temper and domestic violence, and the truth of what actually happened is no where close to what the police claimed nor anywhere near what the online chatter and pundits are now making it out to be.
He further discussed what ‘actually’ happened:
And yes, I lost my temper. I understand, accept full responsibility and sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart for that. But I didn’t hit her 117 times, injure her, or cause any trauma as the UCSF medical reports clearly document.
You’ll note that he doesn’t state that he didn’t hit her, just that he didn’t hit her as many times as indicated, or cause her injury or trauma.
In Chahal’s telling, the woman felt so comfortable that she ‘chose’ to stay in his house:
The girl in question here, was herself so appalled by the false allegations made by the police, that she agreed to be photographed to demonstrate that there were no bruises or injuries. She could have left my apartment at any time during the argument. She felt safe and chose to stay. Those pictures she agreed to take would have been entered into evidence had my case proceeded, and they would have proven that the police claims were egregiously misleading.
Kara Swisher of Re/Code summarizes well the charges that were laid against him:
The criminal complaint includes charges that he hit Kakish in the head and body repeatedly, covered her mouth and obstructed her breathing, and threatened to kill her. After initially calling 911 and talking to police, Kakish ended her cooperation with authorities for reasons that remain unclear.
It’s hard to square the two.
The post veers between scorn for the woman in question, and self-pitying comments that indicate that the whole situation wasn’t really his fault: “Celebrities in sports, entertainment and business, and high net worth individuals in general are all potential targets. It was only a matter of time when I would fall prey.”
Fall prey to what, exactly, isn’t clear.
It’s also worth noting, by the way, that the title of his post appears to be a reference to ‘A Few Good Men’. The quote in question was uttered by a man guilty of a crime.
In the end he pled guilty to misdemeanor battery and domestic violence and was fired. Given that his own board decided that his defense wasn’t in the end worth defending by keeping him aboard, it’s hard to give his blog post much credence.