Andy Rubin, the tech powerhouse who created the Sidekick, cofounded Android, and, most recently, headed up Essential Products, is the latest public figure to face misconduct allegations.
Earlier this week, tech industry news site The Information published a piece claiming that Rubin had an inappropriate relationship with a female member of his Android team while serving as a Google executive in 2014. According to the article, Rubin left Google that same year following an internal investigation found the claims to be true.
This week, after The Information said they notified Rubin's spokesperson of their article, the founder took a leave of absence from his current company, Essential Products. Essential came into the spotlight earlier this year for its Essential Phone, a device that has received mixed reviews and become discounted, despite early hype.
An Essential spokesperson said the departure happened earlier this month: "At our last regularly scheduled board meeting earlier in November, Andy asked for a leave of absence to deal with personal matters. The Board agreed and our President, Niccolo de Masi, will continue to run day to day operations at Essential."
In a statement given to The New York Times, Rubin's spokesperson, Michael Sitrick, denied the claims about Rubin's time at Google, saying, "Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual and did not involve any person who reported to him."
Rubin was a star at Google: He was credited as the person responsible for the company's entrance into the mobile phone business, after Android was acquired by Google in 2005. At the time of his departure in 2014, there were no questions of misconduct. In a statement, Google's chief executive Larry Page praised Rubin's work: “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next. With Android he created something truly remarkable — with a billion-plus happy users."
In recent weeks, the number of powerful men fired as a result of sexual harassment allegations has grown to include Today show host Matt Lauer and journalist Charlie Rose. However, many of the year's sexual harassment allegations have centered on Silicon Valley, following Susan Fowler's now infamous blog post.
Refinery29 has reached out to Google for comment.