He is much spoken about these days. Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and tech billionaire, is a self-proclaimed libertarian who supports Donald Trump’s bid for U.S. President. He bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s $140 million lawsuit against Gawker, and in the process helped bankrupt that media outlet.
We are not shedding tears for Gawker. It did not bring any honor to journalism by publishing a sex tape that was meant to be private (even though Gawker argued otherwise in court, and lost). The whole episode is so embarrassing and can only bring disrepute to all characters involved, including Peter Thiel, who financed the lawsuit as a vendetta against the news site that had outed him as a homosexual, causing him grief in his private life.
But now he has gone to the ridiculous lengths of supporting the claim of one Shiva Ayyadurai to have invented email back in 1978. And guess whom Ayyadurai sued for “defamation”? Yes, right: Gawker Media. And Ayyadurai will get $750,000 as part of a settlement.
Of course, generous Peter Thiel, with the money he’s made thanks to PayPal, bankrolled Ayyadurai’s lawsuit. Just in case, Ray Tomlinson invented the email in 1971. You, or anyone, are not supposed to know. Nor is Thiel. But hey, you are not financing a war on media or anyone you don’t like, just because you can be rich and powerful. Even when it means grabbing any pretext to do so.