It’s not likely that Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are spoken to honestly very often, certainly not by those who work for them. What good could come of that for an employee? Perhaps, then, no one has been brazen enough to directly point out that their defense of Trump supporter and emotional homunculus Peter Thiel, if not his politics, is utter horseshit.
“There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault,” Zuckerberg wrote in defense of maintaining Thiel as a Facebook board member. Bezos added at a Vanity Fair event that “it’s way too divisive to say if you have an opinion, you can’t sit on my board…that makes no sense.”
What really makes no sense is Thiel being treated as if he just so happens to be supporting a fellow conservative, a right-of-center politician who earned the Republican nomination. But Trump isn’t that. He’s someone who’s called for a ban on Muslims entering the country, used anti-Semitic memes online, labeled Mexicans rapists and African-Americans inherently lazy, threatened to jail his political opponent who’s been found guilty of no crime, promised to change libel laws to diminish journalistic freedom and boasted about sexually assaulting women.
Thiel, who’s spoken out against multiculturalism, made puzzling comments about suffrage and had a checkbook ready when racists like Hulk Hogan or Trump needed an assist, wants people to accept that he loathes his candidate’s overt bigotry–his “personal characteristics,” as Thiel terms it–and only supports the GOP nominee because he somehow possesses the magical talents to “fix America,” or some such thing, despite having demonstrated not even a basic understanding of foreign or domestic policy. As I’ve said before, Thiel is the single best argument for a return to the draconian progressive tax rates of the Eisenhower Administration.
The venture capitalist has the absolute right to support financially and otherwise this Berlusconi who dreams of being a Mussolini, but sitting on the board of Facebook and working for the Y Combinator is a privilege, not a right. Zuckerberg and the rest can’t pretend this is politics as usual. Il Duce and his fellow 1930s Fascist Adolf Hitler also were popular with millions of their citizens. That wasn’t “diversity,” but tyranny. So it is, perhaps, again.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Thiel revealed that he was donating $1.25 million to support the election of Donald J. Trump. As these things go, it was a small gift. Dustin Moskovitz, a founder of Facebook, is giving tens of millions to support Hillary Clinton. But the news made Mr. Thiel a pariah in much of the tech community.
He was accused of promoting racism and intolerance. There were demands that Facebook drop him from its board of directors and that Silicon Valley’s leading start-up incubator, Y Combinator, sever ties with him. Emotions and accusations raged on Twitter. …
“I was surprised by the intensity,” Mr. Thiel said. “This is one of the few times I was involved in something that was not a fringe effort but was mainstream. Millions of people are backing Trump. I did not appreciate quite how polarizing the election would be in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.”
“By lending his image, his voice, his influence and substantial capital to Trump, Thiel isn’t simply exercising his legal right to vote: He is fueling and enabling racism, sexism, sexual assault, violence and tyranny,” Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital, a Los Angeles venture firm, wrote in a blog post.
She said she turned down an investment of $500,000 — a huge sum for a small firm like Backstage — because of the investor’s ties to Mr. Thiel. Ms. Hamilton did not identify the investor or respond to an email.
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, defended the company’s association with Mr. Thiel, emphasizing that it did not endorse his views — and much less Mr. Trump’s — but was striving to be inclusive toward those whose values differed from its own. Critics noted that if diversity was such a cherished value in Silicon Valley, why wasn’t there more of it?•