War Of Words Breaks Out Over Silicon Valley Diversity Debate (VIDEO)

Source: Laurie Segall / CNN Money

NEW YORK – Weeks ahead of the premiere of a CNN documentary focusing on diversity in the tech industry, the charged issue is already generating sparks. A heated debate broke out on Twitter Wednesday night after a preview screening of Black in America 4.

Blogger-turned-investor Michael Arrington ignited a controversy with his comments about the visibility of minority-led companies. In the documentary, which airs November 13, Arrington talked about his difficulties finding African-American entrepreneurs to launch their ventures at his TechCrunch Disrupt conference — and suggested he would accept almost any black entrepreneur, regardless of merit.

“There’s a guy, actually, his last company just launched at our event, and he’s African-American. When he asked to launch — actually, I think it was the other way around. I think I begged him,” Arrington told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.

“His startup’s really cool. But he could’ve launched a clown show on stage, and I would’ve put him up there, absolutely,” Arrington said. “I think it’s the first time we’ve had an African-American [be] the sole founder.”

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  • earlcole

    Last time I checked, I was still CEO and Founder of my own tech start up here in California… and I’m black!  I am the only black man to ever win the TV show, Survivor, and the first unanimous winner in the history of the show.  I used my winnings to eventually start my own advertising technology company.  Hey Mike Arrington, should we now be formally introduced… since you didn’t even know I existed? 🙂  If you are so willing to help fund such companies as mine, how about we open up to some major discussions soon.  My company, Particle 5, is definitely worth taking a close look at.  We will be a major player in the digital media game soon.  I’ll be waiting for you call Mike. Thanks. Talk soon.

    Earl Cole
    Entrepreneur, CEO & Founder