Ro Khanna Balances Stance on Peter Thiel’s Gawker Lawsuits

Proud-gay-tech billionaire Peter Thiel has done a lot of fascinating things. He co-founded Paypal, tried to create start-up countries out of floating shipping containers, blamed women’s suffrage for hampering American capitalism and hopes to harness young blood to live forever. He also supports Donald Trump, so he’s a real sweetheart. Another person Thiel supports is congressional candidate Ro Khanna, who’s once again providing a fierce challenge to Rep. Mike Honda’s nap schedule. Khanna lauded Thiel declaring he’s a proud gay man at the RNC Convention, which teed up Honda’s go-to line about his opponent being backed by right-wing elite. That’s already been debunked—both Khanna and Honda have wealthy conservative donors—but Thiel also made headlines by recently admitting that he’s funding lawsuits against online tabloid Gawker with the goal of bankrupting the company. Back in 2007, Thiel wasn’t pounding podiums about being gay, but Gawker more or less outed him to a national audience. Gawker and its offshoot channels, including the muckraking tech blog Valleywag, have since written more about the sexual orientation of Silicon Valley’s elite, exposed entitled tech bros, published dick pics and sex tapes of celebrities, and broken or brought more attention to some of the biggest stories in recent years: Rob Ford’s crack habit; Bill Cosby’s drugging of women and Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, to name a few. But in Thiel’s mind, Gawker is a “singularly terrible bully,” which is why he’s funding Hulk Hogan’s sex tape lawsuit against the company, amongst others. Khanna has said he doesn’t always agree with Thiel on the issues, such as women (are they really an issue?) or social security, so, also being the occasional muckraker, Fly wanted to know how Khanna feels about Thiel’s foray into the field of litigation finance against the media. It’s conceivable independent voices like San Jose Inside’s could be stifled if it were to run up against someone particularly determined. Khanna said he doesn’t agree with Thiel’s lawsuits against Gawker, noting that he supports a “robust press and the ability to hold public officials accountable.” However, Khanna added: “We need try to find some line of nuance and privacy and dignity of an individual when it has nothing to do with their public role.”

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2 Comments

  1. How terrifying for the media, a gay conservative with an unlimited bankroll and an attorney, too bad he’s not a black hispanic!
    LOL!

  2. Khanna:

    “We need try to find some line of nuance and privacy and dignity of an individual when it has nothing to do with their public role.”

    Tap-dance much? That’s no answer. Who is the arbiter of a “public role”?

    Khanna is just Honda 2.0, but without the seniority.

    Give Khanna a little time in office, and he’ll be like all the rest of them.