Why the Cofounder of This Hot Crytocurrency Startup Is Out After John Oliver Criticized Him on ‘Last Week Tonight’
Following a segment by Last Week Tonight host John Oliver that alluded to past lawsuits against major cryptocurrency player Brock Pierce, the startup that he co-founded to rival Ethereum now says it has parted ways with the controversial former child star.
Block.one, the firm developing blockchain platform EOS, wrote on Medium on Tuesday that Pierce would step down from his role as chief strategy officer. “We recently came to a mutual agreement that Brock would end his role at block.one as he transitions to independent community building and investment activities,” the company said without giving a reason for his departure.
Although still under development, EOS has become one of the most talked-about blockchain services in the crypto-sphere. Since being announced in May, investors excited by the potentially more flexible, and faster blockchain network upon which new applications can be built, helped block.one raise $700 million initially, with the value of all EOS in circulation now at $3.8 billion—making it the ninth largest cryptocurrency—according to CoinMarketCap.
On Sunday, Oliver raised questions about EOS’s status and alluded to Pierce having an unsavory history. After broadcasting a corporate marketing video showing Pierce talking about the potential benefits of EOS, Oliver called Pierce a “douche” and criticized his prior acting career.
“That sleepy creepy cowboy from the future is named Brock Pierce. He began his career appearing in ‘ The Mighty Ducks‘ and in… a Gushers commercial as a child who turns into a banana,” Oliver said. “Well that banana then got involved with some very unsavory figures. Just Google ‘Brock Pierce Scandal,’ is all I’m saying there.”
A Google search of “Brock Pierce scandal” returns news articles about lawsuits by former employees of Pierce’s previous company, a bankrupt web video venture, Digital Entertainment Network. Those lawsuits stemming from 2000 alleged that the cryptocurrency co-founder had pressured them as then-minors for sex.
In 2014, several members of the Bitcoin Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for the cryptocurrency, resigned in protest of Pierce’s election as a director of the organization.
Pierce denied the sexual abuse allegations, telling Reuters that two of the suits were dropped. He did however, pay over $21,000 to settle another, according to Reuters.
Neither Pierce nor block.one responded to immediate requests by Fortune for comment.
On Monday, Pierce appeared to be amused by Oliver’s criticisms, tweeting out a link to the comedian’s YouTube video of the segment and suggesting that his followers should watch it.