WASHINGTON (AFP) -- A Hewlett-Packard contract employee fended off advances from chief executive Mark Hurd for two years before accusing him of sexual harassment, according to a letter that prompted his resignation as head of the world's largest computer company.
Hurd, who is now president of HP rival Oracle, resigned as HP CEO in August 2010 following an investigation by the company's board of directors into the sexual harassment allegations raised in the letter.
The eight-page letter was sent to Hurd in June 2010 by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred on behalf of Jodie Fisher, a former actress in adult films and reality TV star who was working for HP as an event organizer.
The letter was obtained and published by technology blog AllThingsDigital and several other US media organizations on Friday after a Delaware court ruled that it could be made public despite efforts by Hurd to keep it under wraps.
An HP investigation found that Hurd had not broken sexual harassment rules, but was in breach of the company's "standards of business conduct."
The letter from Allred, which offers an out-of-court settlement of the sexual harassment claims, said Fisher was contacted in 2007 about hosting HP executive events after Hurd saw her on an NBC television show.
"Looking at what ensued over the next two years, it is clear you had designs to make her your lover from the onset using your status and authority as CEO of HP and HP monies expecting her to be with you," the letter said.
"It is appalling that you would use HP revenues for the purpose of procuring female companionship and romance under the guise of HP business."
The letter described meetings between Hurd and Fisher in various cities around the world during which she is said to have repeatedly rebuffed his attempts to kiss her or to get her to spend the night with him.
During a 2008 visit to Madrid, Hurd took Fisher to an ATM machine and allegedly showed her a checking account balance of over $1 million in a bid to impress her.
"At times, you would behave professionally seemingly 'getting' that she was not going to have sex with you," the letter said. "At other times, not, and you would relentlessly attempt to cajole her into having sex with you.
"You treated her as a sex object, hand-picking her from a TV show, expecting sexual favors in return for giving her work," the letter said.
"All your advances were unwelcome, awkward and were never reciprocated in any way," it said, adding that Fisher was "discarded" by HP in 2009 after rebuffing Hurd's advances.
Hurd resigned from HP on August 6, 2010, two days after reaching an out-of-court settlement with Fisher, who has since said that there were unspecified "inaccuracies" in Allred's letter.
HP 전CEO 성희롱 서한 공개
마크 허드 전 휴렛패커드(HP) 최고경 영자(CEO)의 성희롱 의혹이 묘사된 것으로 알려진 서한이 법원의 명령으로 공개돼 미국 정보기술(IT)업계가 들썩이고 있다고 미국 언론들이 30일(현지시간) 보도했다.
이 서한은 HP의 마케팅담당 계약직 직원으로 임원회의 등 HP의 각종 이벤트를 기획했던 여배우 출신 조디 피셔의 변호사 글로리아 앨리드가 허드에게 보낸 것으로, 허드 사임을 촉발해 눈길을 끌었으나 지금까지 공개되지 않았다.
하지만, 덜러웨어 대법원은 지난 28일 허드의 제지 노력에도 이 서한을 공개하라고 판결했으며, 이후 현지 미디어들이 이 서한을 입수해 앞다퉈 보도하고 있다.
피셔는 지난해 6월24일 변호사를 통해 허드에 보낸 이 서한에서 기혼자인 허드가 지속적으로 잠자리를 요구하고 미국의 팝가수 셰릴 크로우 등 많은 여성들과 사귀었다고 자랑했다고 폭로했다.
허드는 2007년말 이후 2년간 CEO 권한 등을 이용해 피셔가 지속적으로 거부하는 데도 저녁 식사, 포옹, 잠자리 등을 끊임없이 요구해 피셔를 불편하게 했다고 이 서한은 주장했다.
허드는 피셔의 환심을 사기 위해 자신의 계좌에 100만 달러가 넘는 현금이 있다 는 것을 자랑하기도 했다.
또 이 서한에는 HP가 IT서비스업체 일렉트로닉데이터시스템(EDS)'을 인수하려는 계획을 누설했다는 내용을 담고 있다
피셔는 지난해 이 서한이 "부정확한 내용들"을 담고 있으며 허드의 행동은 "HP 에 해롭지 않은 것"이었다고 해명했지만 HP가 지난해 8월 허드를 축출하는 계기로 작용했다.
이 서한이 공개된 후 허드와 피셔 측은 모두 언론의 코멘트 요구를 거부했다. (연합뉴스)