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Vinod Khosla and Marc Andreessen defend him, while Hunter Walk and Mitch Kapor take the other side
When Peter Thiel let the world know that he had indeed been funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against gossip website Gawker, seemingly over a story that the site had published about him nine years ago, there was no doubt it would set off a firestorm of controversy.
People seem to be somewhat split about what Thiel has done. Some seem him as a crusader, someone standing upo against yellow journalism, while other see him as a billionaire who used his own money to take down a website he didn't like.
Silicon Valley itself seems split, with entreprenuers and VCs taking both sides of the issue.
On Thiel's side was Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, who got into a Twitter debate with Recode's Kara Swisher about the topic (no surprise, she is on Gawker's side).
Also backing up Thiel was Marc Andreessen, his fellow Facebook board member, and founder of Andreessen Horowitz.
Analysis: NAACP vs Button held that litigation and sponsorship of it is a form of free expression. https://t.co/w0GQ2i33HL— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) May 26, 2016
And his partner, Ben Horowitz, who retweeted this status:
Along with Chris Sacca from Lowercase Capital, who seemed uncomfortable with Thiel's actions while also mostly taking his side.
1) Great analysis. 2) I agree that this is a horribly dangerous precedent. 3) Nick Denton is a bully. 4) Karma. https://t.co/DfCY47Kecm— Chris Sacca (@sacca) May 26, 2016
Consider directing your outrage at a justice system so expensive that only the rich can get a fair trial. (Criminal and civil.)— Chris Sacca (@sacca) May 26, 2016
Meanwhile, plenty of others took the opposite side of the debate. Among those who are standing against Thiel's actions include Homebrew founder Hunter Walk.
And Mitch Kapor of Kapor Capital, who used the opportunity to take a shot at Thiel's support for Donald Trump.
Thiel funds Hogan lawsuit. Feather in his cap to wear as Trump delegate. https://t.co/7XiXnz7COb— Mitch Kapor (@mkapor) May 24, 2016
Though he also seemed to admit that neither side has really come out looking great in this situation.
All this chatter about Thiel vs. Gawker makes me think of Alien vs. Predator (not that there's anything wrong with that).— Mitch Kapor (@mkapor) May 26, 2016
Still, not everyone was praising or condeming Thiel. Some, like Ethan Kurzweil of Bessemer Venture Partners, were confused why he was even doing this in the first place.
Here's my question about #theil -given the potential verdict, wouldn't most lawyers take the case on contingency? Why did Hulk need funding?— Ethan Kurzweil (@ethankurz) May 27, 2016
(Image source: vanityfair.com)
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Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs. The firm helps entrepreneurs extend the potential of their ideas in both traditional venture areas like the Internet, computing, mobile, and silicon technology arenas but also supports breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas such as bio-refineries for energy and bioplastics, solar, battery and other environmentally friendly technologies. Vinod was formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and founder of Sun Microsystems. Vinod has been labeled the #1 VC by Forbes and Fortune recently labeled him as one the nation's most influential ethanol advocates, noting "there are venture capitalists, and there's Vinod Khosla." Vinod Khosla founded the firm in 2004.
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In 1911, Henry Phipps founded Bessemer Securities to reinvest the proceeds of his sale of Carnegie Steel for the benefit of his descendents. The start-up investment operations were spun out into Bessemer Venture Partners, which now operates out of seven offices around the globe.
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Andreessen Horowitz is a $2.5 billion venture capital firm that was launched on July 6, 2009. Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, John O’Farrell, Scott Weiss, Jeff Jordan, and Peter Levine are the general partners of the firm.