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Sex scandal that felled HP’s Hurd leaves questions about Jodie Fisher

from – There’s a lot we don’t know — and may never know — about the relationship between ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd and reality-TV actress and sales consultant Jodie Fisher.

You have to say Hurd deserved to go for putting himself into a situation where he was vulnerable to a sexual harassment charge. He knew better.

But a piece of this story — maybe not a crucial one — remains a pebble in my shoe. And that is Fisher’s statement when she came forward Sunday.

“I was surprised and saddened that Mark Hurd lost his job over this,” she said in a prepared statement. “That was never my intention.”

The problem with those words is that Fisher, 50, hired Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, perhaps the most aggressive attorney on sexual harassment charges in the U.S.

For Fisher to say that she was surprised Hurd lost his job was like saying, “Gee, all I did was release my crocodile into your pool. I’m shocked, shocked he bit off your leg.”

In other words, Jodie Fisher is either naive, or she is — how shall I say it? — about as candid as Baghdad Bob.

By that, I don’t mean to excuse Hurd, 53. As the CEO of a prominent Fortune 500 company, the heir of Bill and Dave, he had to know his actions would be subject to greater scrutiny.

On the expense account charges alone, I’d can him. If he was putting down phony guests or paying her for work not done, he was cheating HP. If he pressured her to have sex, which he denies, it was far worse.

It’s still hard to believe that expense fibbing alone forced Hurd to lose his job. Rather, it was the fear of damage from the sexual harassment charge, which HP had to expect would go public with Allred.

So let’s examine Fisher’s statement of sadness.

She comes across as a smart and fun-loving woman who is no way naive about sex. In one scene [broadcast over the Internet], a miniskirted Fisher rubs her hand up and down a man’s pants and says, “Nicely tailored, quality fabric.”

Could she be naive about business? Possibly. But after serving as an independent contractor for Hurd at sales functions, she must have glimpsed HP’s strait-laced nature. She must have guessed Hurd would be vulnerable facing a sexual harassment allegation.

Could she be less than candid? Someone else almost certainly wrote the Sunday statement for her. But the words still fell short of authenticity.

“I have resolved my claim privately with Mark without litigation, and I do not intend to comment further,” she said. “I wish Mark, his family and HP the best.”

Sure. After he’s paid her for an allegation that surely strained his marriage, wrecked his career and put the company in jeopardy, she wishes everyone the best. Can’t we be friends?

Like I say, you cannot forgive Hurd. Ultimately, he bears the responsibility. However much he enjoyed Fisher’s company, he concealed their relationship. He was the CEO. And there are certainly things we don’t know.

But I’m still dealing with that pebble. Jodie Fisher had a choice about which attorney to hire. She picked one who all but guaranteed her fame. So just how sad is she?


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