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A letter from my $300m yacht: stop persecuting richies like Jews

An uber-rich venture capitalist has broken cover from the mysterious world of big money to hit out at the persecution of richies — just like the Jews in World World II. Seriously.

Venture capitalists tend to prefer to stay under the radar. You’ve heard of the big firms (Accel Partners, Sequoia, Founders Fund, Greylock, Kleiner Perkins), but the characters behind them — who tend to be incredibly wealthy — usually try to maintain a far lower profile than the businesses they invest in.

Well, that was until last week, when Tom Perkins (co-founder of Kleiner Perkins, pictured) compared “the richest 1%” of Americans to the millions of Jews killed by Hitler during World War II  in a letter to The Wall Street Journal.

Let’s take a step back. Kleiner’s comments come amid rising tensions in San Francisco. A form of economic dualism appears to have erupted, with wealthy employees of tech firms like Google, Facebook and Salesforce causing higher house and rental prices (it costs around US$3200 a month to rent a two-bedroom house in SF) and enjoying luxurious, air-conditioned, wi-fi-enabled buses while the general public look on. The protests in recent weeks appear to have escalated, with Google executive Anthony Levandowski targeted and prevented from leaving his property, along with Google buses. (In response to the issue, the City of San Francisco is imposing a $1 charge every time a Google bus makes a pick-up or drop-off at a public stop, which appears to be a Google Tax without any real rationale.)

It was in the context of rising tensions that Perkins, who has an estimated personal wealth of around US$8 billion (yes, billion), penned his WSJ letter, where he claimed:

I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent’, namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich’.”

He went on:

We have, for example, libellous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a ‘snob’ despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.”

(Perkins forgot to mention that Steel is his former wife).

It perhaps never occurred to the Harvard-educated Perkins that middle-class anger at the rising wealth of the top 1% is somewhat different to the systematic extermination of millions of innocent people. Perhaps ironically, the heads of most of the big tech companies Perkins was ham-fistedly trying to defend are themselves Jewish (Google’s Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt are all Jewish, as is Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg).

Kleiner Perkins — Perkins’ former firm — was very quick to distance itself from its former founder’s comments, tweeting within hours:

Marc Andreessen, former Netscape boss and well-known VC, said:

In 2008, the WSJ reported that Perkins was in the process of selling his 289-foot sailboat, the Maltese Falcon (which cost somewhere between US$150-300 million to build), and also owned a US$450,000 Porsche, a Bentley, an Aston Martin, a US$45 million house in Aspen and a 900-year-old moated manor in England, noting that Perkins was “rich, vulgar and proud”.

Looks like not much has changed.

13
  • 1
    Jessika Zen
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Jewish people are very nice, smart and funny. They just have bad diets. So listen to Woody Allen and eat Viet food. Or you stay on the dock on the Miami wharf.

  • 2
    DiddyWrote
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Eight Billion sure buys you a heck of a lot of insulation from the real world. Absolutely nails his argument by breaking Godwin’s Law straight of the bat.
    Pity the rich for they are not like us.

  • 3
    CML
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think you can compare the Jews in Germany last century with the richest 1% of Americans today.
    The Jews would have paid their fair share of tax back then. The same can’t be said for today’s other mob!
    And therein lies the problem!!

  • 4
    Dom
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    We should also call attention to the parallel with the French Revolution, with the their war on the one percent, rather than simply being quiet and eating cake.

  • 5
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    It must be so relaxing for Tom Perkins, wrapped in his $300 million yacht, telling the world how badly persecuted are the rich-treated as they are like the Jews of WWII and treating the Palestinians in Israel as badly as the Jews of WWII.

  • 6
    Max Steinman
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Whoever takes the screenshots needs to move the mouse pointer out of the way.

  • 7
    DiddyWrote
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    This charmer also sat on the board of directors of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation from 2007-2012. Why am I not surprised.

  • 8
    Jimmyhaz
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Well if they want to be persecuted like the Jews were, who are we to stop it?

  • 9
    Steven Grant Haby
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Both ends of the spectrum with today’s edition of Crikey… another cracker and thought provoking edition. I cried when I read of the abuse committed by the Salvation Army in NSW and Qld and was incensed and angry at having to read the winging of these uber rich cretins and parasites.

  • 10
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of the apologist (Pell) who admonished those criticising endemic child abuse in the catholic church as attacking “the most vulnerable, the Pope”. staggers out of door, brain bleeding…

  • 11
    Liamj
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Mr Perkins would be better off investing in insurance (a.k.a social security) than in advertising his ignorance and unlikeability.

  • 12
    Posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Mike Godwin (famous for coining Godwin’s law) has been having some fun with it on twitter:
    https://twitter.com/sfmnemonic/status/427257508231532545

  • 13
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I doubt Perkins is suffering but he’s certainly insufferable.

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