OrbiMed founder Sam Isaly sued the newspaper and reporter who published a story last year about his alleged sexual harassment of women employed at his his private equity fund.
Reporter Damien Garde’s story, which ran Dec. 5, 2017, on the Boston Globe‘s STAT website, quoted six former employees who accused Isaly of routinely demeaning and harassing women with hardcore pornography and sex toys. Isaly, a 72-year-old investor long revered in the biotech community for his ability to pick stocks, denied the allegations.
Soon after the story ran, New York City-based OrbiMed said that Isaly would depart “pursuant to years-long succession planning discussions” without address the accusations. By April of this year he was out.
One woman, Isaly’s former assistant, Delilah Burke, told the news outlet that he repeatedly showed her hardcore pornography just to laugh as she reacted in disgust.
“I’m scarred,” Burke said at the time. “I still have anxiety from that job — now, years later.”
In his lawsuit, filed Oct. 19 in the U.S. District Court for Southern New York, Isaly claims that he was physically incapable of the actions he’s accused of; Isaly has been a quadriplegic since a wrestling accident in high school.
Burke’s duties as as Isaly’s assistant in 2009 and 2010 included “performing many physical movements that plaintiff was unable to perform himself, including operating communication devices,” according to Isaly’s complaint.
“Those disabilities … make it impossible for him to have taken the actions alleged in the article,” according to the suit. “In short, plaintiff, in 2009 and 2010, was physically unable to perform the actions attributed to him in that period by his then assistant, Burke.”
Isaly is seeking $5 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages for the alleged defamation. He also wants an injunction forcing STAT to remove the article and any comments associated with it.