June 15th, 2010
09:35 AM ET
9 years ago

Whitman camp defends shoving incident

  A New York Times report alleges the Republican was involved in a 2007 shoving altercation.

A New York Times report alleges the Republican was involved in a 2007 shoving altercation.

(CNN) – Meg Whitman's campaign is defending the California gubernatorial candidate following a New York Times report alleging the Republican was involved in a 2007 shoving altercation with an employee while then serving as CEO of the auction website eBay.

"Meg is a serious, results-focused boss. A verbal dispute in a high-pressure working environment isn't out of the ordinary," Whitman campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said in a statement provided to CNN. "Meg's record of accomplishment in business, including her success at leading eBay from a 30-employee startup to a Fortune 500 company, speaks for itself."

The statement comes on the heels of a New York Times report published Monday night that alleges Whitman shoved an employee at eBay's California headquarters after the Silicon Valley chief felt unprepared for an upcoming media interview.

Citing anonymous sources, the Times report says the employee, identified as Young Mi Kim, threatened a lawsuit against the company but ultimately settled through a private mediator for around $200,000.

Kim remains employed at eBay, now holding a high level position in its communications department. But she left the company for four months after the June 2007 altercation, according to the paper.

In a statement to the Times, Kim called the incident "unfortunate" but said it was "resolved it in a way that speaks well for [Whitman] and for eBay."

"And ultimately, I came back to the company, which is not something I had to do," Kim added.

The company would not respond further to the report.

Whitman, who stepped down from eBay in January 2008, has long touted her decisive leadership style in her bid to run the largest economy of any state and the eighth largest economy in the world.

"She has this ability to come to a very confusing situation, take a look, and figure out what the right thing to do is," one eBay employee says in a campaign commercial Whitman launched last winter.

"She makes people feel heard and makes them feel valued, but ultimately she is still going to make the right decision," another employee says in the same ad.

Whitman joined eBay in 1998, then a company of only three dozen employees with annual revenues of less than $5 million, according to her campaign website. When she left the online auction house a decade later, eBay employed more than 15,000 employees with an annual revenue of $8 billion. Whitman received several accolades during her tenure at eBay, including earning a spot on Fortune Magazine’s “Best Bosses” list in 2007. She was also ranked among the top ten CEOs of the last decade by the Harvard Business Review.

But Whitman also left the company as its stock price reeled amid increased competition and a poorly received 2005 acquisition of the Internet calling service Skype, which was sold by eBay after Whitman's departure for several hundred million dollars less than it paid for the company.

Whitman won the California GOP gubernatorial primary last week in what became the most expensive campaign in California history. Whitman spent over $80 million of her own money in the primary matchup against state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, also a former Silicon Valley CEO. Poizner himself spent about $25 million of his own funds.

Whitman now faces state Attorney General and former California Gov. Jerry Brown in the general election.


Filed under: California • Meg Whitman • Popular Posts
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Eric

    Oh please... really? Is this the best the democrats have? You can't win on the issues so you have to resort to trumped up charges from three years ago.

    He said, she said.

    June 15, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    Guys that started youtube have created a fortune 500 company, that doesn't mean that I would vote for those two knuckleheads, LOL.

    I hope my boss never shoves me because he or she will find a nice fist barreling down on their temple followed by a size 10 Marine boot stomp on their forehead, and by looking at Meg's forehead I don't think I could miss either.

    June 15, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. David

    California needs someone tough and smart like Whitman. We love her!!!

    June 15, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Remember the Alamo

    What's wrong with her in a soving incident. It just shows she has spunk unlike the gutless wonder we now have in the White House. Someone needs to shove these racist out of the Oval office.

    June 15, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. richardc

    NY Times trying to influence elections again with biased attacks...

    when will people stop regarding the times as anything more than a Liberal Democratic publicist for the Democratic parties agenda...

    considering how bad a financial mess the times is in, you'd figure the democratic party could at least pay them for thier services...

    June 15, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. Obama the liar

    WOW...she's acting almost like a liberal.

    June 15, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Four and The Door

    This is nothing. I saw video clips of the current Governor Arnold Schwartenegger when working with Linda Hamilton in a past job where he tried no less than 20 times to kill her. She finally got away but he was elected governor and his behavior while in office has been nothing like that violence he had displayed in previous jobs.

    June 15, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. mark

    CNN in liberal campaign mode.

    Are the sheep going to fall for it this time around?

    June 15, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. William Jefferson

    It was her prerogative as a social better and a billionaire to shove a peon. Don't you people know anything about conservative values???????

    June 15, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. Alfred Hussein Neuman

    Another example of CNN bias? This is an old story that both sides say was resolved back in 2007. But CNN links to it on the front page as Latest News.

    The Bob Alteridge story – which just happened, is video taped and clearly show a democrat bullying a student – is basically ignored by CNN. They report on the story until Monday afternoon, initially buried in the Ticker section with no link from the front page.

    June 15, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Laura, Massachusetts

    I am sure that all candidates have something in the PAST (we are talking 3 years ago) they would like to put behind them.

    If MA threw up Kennedy's past all the while he was our senator, we never would have had such a fine senator....get the picture.

    E-Bay handled the situation to the extent that the employee is still there! That speaks volumes!!!

    June 15, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. snow

    I guess the lame brained liberal media could not find anything in her kindergarden years so they had to find something more recent to flash to the public while they support that fool already failed liberal politican jerry brown.

    June 15, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. rob

    Another great expose from the "Paper of record"...All the news they say is fit to print.

    I'm sure the other "Responsible" Media outlets will run with this one. Its going to get nasty out there, and all from the Dems. They are extremely desparate this time and will be the first to scream of "Dirty Tricks" if opponents or their own constituants dare question them.

    Its going to be a LONG HOT Summer for the Dems, it'll be fun to watch them implode.

    June 15, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Obama Enemy List Wannabe

    I guess the New York Times was sitting on this story until they could use it for a political agenda. 'All the Slime that's Fit to Print'.

    June 15, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Mike in SA

    If the liberal media thinks this will take the spotlight off of Rep. Etheridge D-NC, they're wrong.

    On a side note, I think somebody may quickly find out the cost of leaking details of a confidential settlement. It means you lose your settlement and possibly more.

    June 15, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. A keen observer

    It appears that Whitman is a bully. It this the type of person Californians want for a gubernatorial candidate?

    June 15, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Rick

    anothe Democratic ploy, why dont you report that Obama's administration people lived free of charge in an apartment paid for by BP or why not report about all the LIEs that Slobama keeps telling, just like the Govt Ran Obama Media to come up with more lies, Obama is a waste to America and needs to go just like Cnn.

    June 15, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Joe

    Funny how CNN will post two articles about a Republican candidate who ALLEGEDLY shoved someone years ago but has nothing on their website about the Democrat who has been caught on tape assulting a student who merely ask him a question.

    CNN is a joke, not a news organization.

    June 15, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Slick William

    This is too funny, you get a Dem Congressman assaulting a college student and CNN tries to dig out a story of distraction on a Republican candidate. Yeah CNN you are an unbiased news reporting agency, yuk yuk! Kool aides great yeah yeah yeah, Kool aides great! Those horrible anti-American tea buggers, what a viscous lot they all are!

    June 15, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Sniffit

    A billionairre throwing a temper tantrum and mistreating an employee? That never happens! Say it isn't so!

    June 15, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Lee, Ann Arbor Michigan

    Isn't it funny how CNN comes up with this story that happened in 2007 but doesn't even follow the North Carolina democratic congressman that shoved the students, grappled with them, grabbed their necks, etc?

    I guess the only press the main stream media gives to the politician's is the bad image of Republican's and how great the Democrats are.

    You see now why we have such a useless President as a leader. The MSM pushed him forward as a rock star and his "change," and now all we have is a President that has no empathy or compassion for others...he is the "Narcissist in Chief." The ONLY thing Obama cares about is HIS image.

    June 15, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. Jerry

    Now this is what I would call making up the news, what a joke

    June 15, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. demmie

    the story about the physical assault by Etherridge was on CNN for about 20 minutes.... lets see how long this one lasts! I'm going to bet at least two days.

    June 15, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. Paul from Phoenix

    Anything to take the heat off the Dem fron Morth Carolina who accosted a couple of college kids yesterday. FUnny how this is the ticker headline, I had to search for the other story yesterday.

    June 15, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Wisconsinite

    A verbal dispute in a high-pressure working environment isn't out of the ordinary,"

    That's absolutely right. But SHOVING an employee is "out of the ordinary" and IS illegal as evidenced by the 200K settlement Ebay paid to the employee after she threatened to sue.

    So, now can we hear from all of you Rabid Righties who were demanding the head of the Democrat who grabbed the arm of the "kid" who shoved the camera into his face yesterday? Please???

    June 15, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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