Larry Ellison Goes Ape on Fortune Reporter

Oracle Corp. chief executive Larry Ellison

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison must be in an epistolary mood these days. Only days after blasting Hewlett-Packard's board of directors in an e-mail to the New York Times, Ellison was at it again. This time he shot off a heat-seeker to Fortune taking exception - strong exception - to a depiction in a recent article by writer, Philip Elmer-DeWitt. In a Tuesday piece comparing the ethical standards at Oracle and HP, Elmer-DeWitt wrote that Ellison had "a long history of office dalliances and at least one sexual harassment lawsuit (decided in his favor)." (He also republished excerpts from a 1998 Washington Post piece titled, "Executives' Privilege? In Boardroom, Sex Seldom Leads to Censure" which, among other things, recounted a legal spat between Ellison and a former Oracle employee who sued for wrongful termination. As DeWitt noted, that suit got decided in Oracle's favor, but something about the narrative of the article set Ellison off. 

In an update to his original post, DeWitt wrote: "Although the original article made it clear that the sexual harassment suit against Ellison was decided in his favor and included more detail in the Washington Post excerpt, he complained that it was negligent because it didn't say higher up what happened to his accuser." He reposted the text of Ellison's message as follows:

From: Larry Ellison

Subject: Hey Jerk

Date: August 11, 2010 1:00:55 PM EDT


Adelyn Lee went to jail for a year for falsely accusing me of sexual harassment. Why did you leave that out of your story you scum bag? Let me guess...your job is telling half-truths. Fortune Magazine must be very proud of you.

An Oracle spokeswoman did not return to phone and email requests for comment.

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    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.


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