This week at Recode‘s Code Conference in California, a paltry few tech titans have stepped up to speak out against prominent investor and PayPal mafioso Peter Thiel’s efforts to defund Gawker Media by bankrolling Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the company. But issuing a “tsk tsk” to Thiel for threatening first amendment rights is pretty easy when your audience is mostly journalists.
1) eBay CEO Devin Wenig said, “I side with a free media and a free press.”
2) Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told audience members, “I don’t think a billionaire should be able to fund a lawsuit to kill Gawker.”
3) Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “Peter did what he did on his own, not as a Facebook board member,” adding, “We didn’t know about it.”
Those opposing Thiel are firmly in the minority, though a few others have offered a tepid condemnation of Thiel.
Here’s President of Y Combinator Sam Altman on why it’s bad to snuff out the press.
1) it’d be bad if rich people could start silencing the media
2) gawker is disgusting for outing people, publishing sex tapes, etc.
— Sam Altman (@sama) May 27, 2016
And a line from Chartbeat founder Tony Haile on what constitutes Clickbait versus real journalism:
Clickbait is where the promise of the headline does not match the reality of the content. It’s not just when you don’t like what’s written.
— Tony Haile (@arctictony) May 28, 2016
These precious few callouts against Thiel’s actions aren’t likely to do much to dissuade him from funding Gawker’s potential demise. After all, how do you stop a billionaire? RR