SAN FRANCISCO —
Ellen Pao, the ex- Reddit chief executive who sued her former venture capital firm for gender discrimination, is dropping her appeal and will pay legal fees to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, ending a three-year battle that captured the attention of the nation and turned the spotlight on sexism in Silicon Valley.
"Over the past three and a half years, I have pursued a legal case against Kleiner Perkins for gender discrimination and retaliation. Seeking justice in the courts has been painful for me personally and professionally, and for my family. I am now moving on, paying Kleiner Perkins’ legal costs and dropping my appeal," Pao wrote in an essay on Re/Code.
But Pao remains defiant.
"My experience shows how difficult it is to address discrimination through the court system," she wrote.
A jury found that Kleiner Perkins did not discriminate against Pao. Pao had been seeking $16 million in damages, claiming the venture capital firm discriminated against her because she was a woman, denying her promotions. She was ultimately fired.
In June, Pao appealed the jury’s verdict that she failed to show Kleiner Perkins discriminated against her and then retaliated against her for complaining about it. Pao was ordered to pay $275,966.63 in legal fees plus interest to her former employer, Kleiner Perkins. Kleiner Perkins had sought $1 million in legal fees.
"We are glad to put this trial behind us. There is no question diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women and minorities in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry," Kleiner Perkins said in an emailed statement.
Pao's case intensified attention being paid to the treatment of women in Silicon Valley and trained new attention on the secretive, mostly white-male, venture capital profession.
Women, blacks and Hispanics have been largely left out of one of the world's greatest wealth-creation machines in Silicon Valley. Nowhere is that lack of diversity more evident than in venture capital firms, which control the spigot of wealth in high-tech. The profession has begun to take steps to address the lack of diversity. The National Venture Capital Association has formed a diversity task force and the trade group has taken a diversity pledge.