Inevitably, whenever somebody prominent says something stupid, in print or in person, they apologize. Maybe they go to rehab. What they don’t do is double-down, as a rule. But, hey, Tom Perkins, one of the most prominent tech investors out there, isn’t just any rich jerk.
Perkins, if you’re not familiar, compared criticizing the “one percent” with the way the Nazis “criticized” the Jews. It was a truly breathtaking hat trick of cluelessness, as he managed to violate Godwin’s law, evoke an anti-Semitic stereotype, and accidentally buttress the idea he was trying to knock down. He was immediately disavowed by Kleiner Perkins, which is the venture capital firm he, uh, founded, and was generally given the nice, slow roasting he deserved.
So, needless to say, Perkins is on an apology tour, right? Not according to Bloomberg he isn’t!
After the dustup, Perkins said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News that he was “shocked” at the actions of the Occupy movement… yet the press “focuses its wrath on the 1 percent,” he wrote. “In the Nazi area it was racial demonization, now it is class demonization,” Perkins wrote in the e-mail. As for his former firm’s reaction to his comments in the Wall Street Journal, Perkins said “our philosophies and strategies have drifted so far apart that now my name means little on the door.”
Well, good news if you’ve got money in Kleiner Perkins, one supposes. Bloomberg didn’t share the whole email, but apparently Perkins is butthurt that Occupy protesters breaking stuff and being meeee-an didn’t get more media coverage. That’s exactly the kind of perspective one expects from a man who had a book written about his sailboat and called it Mine’s Bigger.
This is largely fallout from battles between Google and other tech companies in San Francisco, and well, pretty much everybody else in the Bay Area. Google, for example, has gotten in trouble for using public bus stops to pick up employees… thus blocking traffic at rush hour, and generally taking a ‘screw you’ attitude to complaints. More seriously, it’s driving up rents and real estate costs in the area, and let’s face it, it’s not like tech companies really “get” human beings even at the best of times.
All joking aside, it would be nice if Perkins’ gaffe and refusal to back down served to at least gave some of the tech elite pause. Because, yes, guys, a lot of time? You may not be quite that douchey, but you’re getting close.