After 9 months of media flogging fake news stories that Silicon Valley’s top supporter is a vampire planning to live forever through transfusions of children’s’ blood, the Tech Crunch blog says there is no basis for the stories.
The Twitter account of Jeff Bercovici betrays him as a hard edge Democrat with an agenda against the Trump Administration, in spite of being Inc.’s San Francisco tech writer. As an example, he Tweeted on May 10, 2017, post: “The only people stupid enough to think the “Democrats wanted to fire Comey first!” ploy is clever are Republicans.” On June 2, Bercovici posted a glum picture of Trump with the comment, “No good person ever looks like this.”
Bercovici used the vaulted business credibility of Inc. to run what Tech Crunch confirmed as an untrue August 1, 2016 hit piece to undermine Thiel’s credibility, just 9 days after the maverick came out in support of Trump’s Presidential campaign.
Thiel had been beloved in Silicon Valley as the tech’s Renaissance Man that had succeeded as an entrepreneur, startups investor, venture capitalist and oracle of the future. His 2014 book, ‘Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future,’ famously stated that “all happy companies are different, and all unhappy companies are alike in that they fail to escape the sameness that is competition.” It was lauded by the media as the operating manual for a tech’s next decade of dominance.
During a July 7, 2015, interview for Inc. with Bercovici titled, ‘Peter Thiel Wants You to Get Angry About Death,’ Thiel famously said the biggest opportunity for the future was, “The way we deal with mortality is through some strange combination of acceptance and mortality.” Thiel said he was venture-backing longevity start-ups like Immusoft Corp., whose technology enabled the efficient insertion of genes encoding therapeutic proteins into patients’ immune cells might be possible to extend life forever.
But after Thiel acknowledged the sin of breaking solidarity with Silicon Valley to back Donald Trump, Inc. on July 22, 2016, Bercovici led the media retaliation with an August 1, 2016, hit piece in Inc. titled, ‘Peter Thiel Is Very, Very Interested in Young People’s Blood.’ Featuring a picture of Thiel demonically staring down from a podium, Bercovici claimed the venture capitalist was involved in a “weird and unsavory” effort to start “having younger people’s blood transfused into his own veins.”
The article claimed that Thiel was backing the process of parabiosis through a company called Ambrosia as a “potential biological Fountain of Youth–the closest thing science has discovered to an anti-aging panacea.” The Inc. stated that “mainstream researchers, with multiple clinical trials underway in humans in the U.S. and even more advanced studies in China and Korea.”
The firestorm under Google search line “vampire Peter Thiel” exploded to 191,000 results, including articles in Gawker, Vanity Fair, the New Republic, and hundreds more. Vampire Chronicles author Anne Rice told the Daily Beast that Thiel’s idea was viable, “It seems to me that there are probably millions of young people who would share their blood for a reasonable price and that it needn’t be such an expensive commodity.” HBO’s Silicon Valley was still skewering vampire Thiel in March episode titled, ‘The Blood Boy.’
But Tech Crunch reported in an article titled ‘No, Peter Thiel is not harvesting the blood of the young,’ that Ambrosia’s founder, Stanford-trained physician Jesse Karmazin, claims he was never contacted by Thiel or anyone associated with Thiel venture capital fund. Karmazin told TC, “He’s not even a patient. If he were, I would have to say, ‘We can’t disclose that information.’ But he’s not even a patient so I can tell you, he’s not a patient’.”
Bercovici took to Twitter on June 15 with a plea for sympathy, “Welcome to all my new followers who followed me to watch me freak out over getting professionally defamed.” Tech Crunch, unlike Inc., has now included the thin-skinned Bercovici’s comments regarding his claims of victimization at the bottom of its article on Thiel.