Steve Kirsch Silicon Valley tech tycoon called a creep and accused of trolling after offering passenger on recent Delta Airlines flight $100K if she would take off her face mask as the multi-millionaire questions whether masks and Covid treatments actually work.
A Silicon Valley tech tycoon has been called a creep and accused of trolling after offering a female passenger $100,000 during a recent Delta flight if she agreed to take off her face mask, after telling the woman the mask did little to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus.
Steve Kirsch, 67, who is worth a reported $230 million, posted about the episode on Friday, with the tech investor going so far as to post a selfie of himself smiling on the full flight.
He said that he offered a woman $100k to remove her mask for the entire flight, claiming that she worked ‘for a pharma company.’
Kirsch tweeted: ‘I am on board a Delta flight right now. The person sitting next to me in first-class refused $100,000 to remove her mask for the entire flight.
‘No joke. This was after I explained they don’t work.’
I’m sure she appreciated the harassment. What a jerk.
— Gailen David (@gailendavid) March 10, 2023
Critical thinker or troll?
The millionaire created a research fund for potential COVID treatments in 2020, donating $1million into the venture, according to MIT Technology Review.
But it also claims that he has since started to question Covid vaccines and accusing governments and pharmacies of intentionally spreading ‘misinformation’ about the pandemic online.
His Twitter claims he is a ‘truth-teller’ and a ‘critical thinker’, with Kirsch regularly sharing articles which are skeptical of Covid vaccinations and masks.
Posted Kirsch of Friday’s ‘interactions’ with the un-named woman who remained adamant about wearing her face mask: ‘I started the bidding at $100. And I pointed out that when she removed the mask for eating and drinking, she could be infected with one breath. So she had full disclosure.
‘She took off her mask as soon as the breakfast was served!!!! Because everyone knows you can’t get infected while you are eating!!
‘Maybe next time I’ll sit next to someone who had an account at Silicon Valley Bank.’
Needless to say, the posting led to a barrage of responses on Twitter, with users slamming the tech millionaire as a ‘creepy liar’.
Efficacy of Face Masks rages on post COVID
Wrote one user: ‘This is wildly creepy, you get that, right? Every part of this. From the request, to the expression, to the fact you decided to tweet this!’
Pondered another: ‘All you’re doing here is admitting you patronized and harassed a woman who made a decision she thought was best for her. Way to own yourself on here, man.’
One user called Kirsch an ‘entitled mansplainer’, while another said Delta should have reimbursed the woman for her seat after ‘noxious arrogant fool’ Kirsch ruined her flight.
But not everyone was put off by Kirsch. With some users suggesting they would have gladly taken the money had they been offered.
Wrote one user: ‘Can you please provide your upcoming flight schedule and seat numbers? Thanks.’
Posted another user: ‘Even if it was GUARANTEED I’d get COVID I’d take the $100k, depending on where I was going.’
The Silicon Valley Veteran was credited with one of the first versions of the optical mouse back in 1980.
He co-founded Frame Technology Corp which was bought out by Adobe in 1995 and then went on to create Infoseek and then sold it to Disney in 1999.
Airlines and airports dropped mask mandates following a court ruling in April 2022, though many travelers continued to opt for face coverings on flights.