Apparently the Techcrunch controversy involving Michael Arrington won’t be limited to AOL and Arianna Huffington, now the tech blog founder has publicly admonished the new Editor of the site Erick Schonfeld. New York-based Schonfeld, who was originally hired by Arrington in 2007, was met by approval by many in the Silicon Valley community when he was appointed as lead Editor by AOL earlier this week.
In the lead up the today’s final judging of the Techcrunch startup company competition, Schonfeld revealed the finalists, but added an important statement. Schonfeld said:
“In the spirit of disclosure, two of the companies, Bitcasa and Prism Skylabs, are CrunchFund investments, but we didn’t hold that against them. Along with the other finalists, the judges scored them the highest. The CrunchFund is Michael Arrington’s new venture fund. He was not involved in the final selection of these companies.”
This didn’t sit well with Arrington who took to the comments section of the Techcrunch blog post and made the following statement:
“Erick, I’m still an AOL employee through tomorrow (15th). Also, as you know I had significant input into this list of finalists and spoke to Heather [Techcrunch CEO] for over an hour last night about them. My final list is somewhat different from this one, though, but we agree on four of the companies.
Please be careful making statements on my behalf. And remember that reader trust is what matters. You shouldn’t say ‘he was not involved in the final selection of these companies’ just because it sounds nice. Since it isn’t true, you shouldn’t say it at all.
Also, going forward, I don’t know if I’ll be disclosing our investments to TechCrunch.”
Wow. So in one short statement Arrington essentially indicates that Schonfeld wasn’t being completely honest about how the companies were selected—exactly what many recent critics where afraid of. Further, the public rebuke from Arrington indicates that the bad blood with Huffington during his exit may also be spilling over to his former employee. Finally, by saying that he may not disclose CrunchFund investments to Techcrunch in the future, we’re given a hint at what the relationship between Arrington and Techcrunch might be in the future (contentious?). Suddenly, the rumor that Arrington might be setting up a new tech startup blog sounds a lot more realistic.