Video footage where the ex-wife of Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price alleged she was abused by her former husband will not be published, according to the University of Kentucky. The video, a TEDx talk by Kristie Colón recorded at Kentucky in October, has also been deleted by the university and it is unclear if any copies now exist.
That video was a source of controversy after a report in Bloomberg BusinessWeek said Colón would allege her ex-husband shook, punched, slapped and waterboarded her. Price, who gained prominence when he set a minimum salary of $70,000 for his employees, and lowered his own salary to that level, has said the abuse did not happen.
Footage from the event was previously scheduled to publish online last week, organizers of the TEDx talk had told Entrepreneur, but yesterday the university reversed its decision after being contacted by Price’s representatives, it said in a statement.
"Mr. Price’s representatives notified the University of Kentucky that they believed some of the content in the video talk in question was defamatory,” William Thro, the university’s general counsel, told Entrepreneur in a statement. “In light of this concern, the university chose to exercise its discretion not to post the video. The university does not presently have possession of the video. The university takes no position on whether the content was, in fact, defamatory.”
The reversal was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Jay Blanton, the university’s executive director of PR and marketing, told Entrepreneur that the school deleted the video because “we weren’t going to post it so we us [sic] no need to retain it.”
It is unclear whether any other copies of the footage still exist. Organizers of the event told Entrepreneur earlier this month that Colón had access to a copy. A representative from Group SJR, which handles public relations for TED, told Entrepreneur that “decisions about TEDx events -- including when/if to publish talks -- are made by the individual, independent TEDx organizers.”
A representative for Colón declined to comment. A representative for Gravity Payments did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Colón -- whose seven-year marriage to Price ended in 2012 -- gave the TEDx talk about the healing power of writing in the wake of trauma. In the talk, Colón, a San Francisco-based skin care marketing executive and blogger, reportedly read from her diary about how her then-husband “threw me to the ground and got on top of me. He started punching me in the stomach and slapped me across the face. I was shaking so bad,” according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
She also recounted locking herself in the car because she was “afraid he was going to body-slam me into the ground again or waterboard me in our upstairs bathroom like he had done before.”
Colón did not mention Price by name, according to Bloomberg, but she has only been married once. And the description of her talk on a website for the event -- a blurb that has since been deleted from the lineup -- said that “Kristie was married at 20, divorced at 27, and lived through a relationship that was abusive in every sense of the word.” These are the years that Colón was married to Price.
Earlier this month, when the allegations first surfaced, Price denied that he’d abused his ex-wife, telling Entrepreneur that he was “shocked at the allegations from Bloomberg Businessweek and I don’t have any evidence that there are actual allegations, but the information that Bloomberg Businessweek claimed to have relayed to me is completely false.”
There is no record of a police report filed in Seattle, where the couple lived, that mentions any abuse. In fact, Price was only arrested once, back in 2013, after a fight with employees at a Seattle Irish pub. According to a police report, Price walked into the bar just after midnight, dressed all in white, sat at a table of people he didn’t know and was asked to leave. When he didn’t, the bar’s manager then physically escorted Price from the bar, whereupon Price clawed him in the face and grabbed and broke his glasses. It’s unclear what the outcome of that case was.
Price, who was Entrepreneur’s Entrepreneur of 2014, initially became a darling of the corporate world after he established a minimum salary of $70,000 for all employees at Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company.
But Price, who said he lowered his own $1.1 million salary and mortgaged his houses in order to hand out raises, has also faced questions about both his sincerity and his honesty. His brother and Gravity Payments’ co-founder, Lucas Price, is suing Dan for cutting him out of profits while inflating his own salary, with suggestions that the lawsuit, rather than a sense of goodwill, prompted Dan Price to take his famous salary cut. Geekwire also reports that property records show Price hasn’t actually mortgaged his two homes in Seattle, as he has stated in interviews.