Gab founder and CEO Andrew Torba has been banned from Y Combinator’s directory and community after several members of the group allegedly claimed that Torba’s defense of Donald Trump made them feel “unsafe.”
“I was a part of Y Combinator’s winter 2015 batch with my first company, Automate Ads, which is how I got into their network,” said Torba in an email to Breitbart Tech. “They have an internal network of founders with job listings, a directory, etc called ‘Bookface.'”
Y Combinator is an organization that provides initial funding for Silicon Valley startups. In October Y Combinator president Sam Altman and founder Paul Graham were heavily criticized by members of Silicon Valley for refusing to cut ties with partner Peter Thiel over his support of Donald Trump.
“After coming out as Pro-Trump back in June, I was labeled as a ‘racist, bigot, etc’ by members of the Y Combinator community. Many unfriended me, stopped doing business with me, and shut me out completely,” he continued. “Several other Y Combinator founders saw one of my recent tweets saying ‘build the wall’ which they claimed made them feel ‘unsafe.'”
“Another founder referenced this tweet indirectly on a YC partner’s Facebook page so I jumped in the comments and called her out for it, which is when the group-think YC loyalists started jumping in and ganging up on me,” claimed Torba. “Several of them had been stalking my Facebook posts all week, jumping in the comments and harassing me with nonsensical questions trying to force a ‘gotcha’ moment.”
“As they continued to pile in and round up other founders to jump in and attack me I basically had enough and told them all to ‘fuck off,’ which is a part of free speech and my right,” Torba explained. “I received a phone call from Jon Levy, Y Combinator’s in-house attorney. Jon informed me that I had been completely removed from the Y Combinator directory and community and was no longer welcome. He cited my tweet which said ‘build the wall’ as the reason for my ban.”
Torba claims that after Buzzfeed contacted Y Combinator about covering the story, they changed their explanation for why he was removed, “stating that the ban was for ‘harassment’ because I told another founder, who had been harassing me for three days on every Facebook post, to ‘fuck off’ and called them cucks”.
“We support free speech, obviously. And we’re happy to to fund people with all sorts of different political views,” claimed Y Combinator president Sam Altman. “We do not allow harassment, for which Andrew unfortunately set a new bar in our community. You can look at his Twitter or Facebook for plenty of public examples, to say nothing of what he’s said privately.”
“As per our previous comments, when a founder violates our ethics statement, we remove them from the community,” he concluded.
In June, Altman compared President-elect Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, calling him a racist, misogynist, and conspiracy theorist. Since banning Torba from Y Combinator, Altman has also blocked him on Twitter.
Torba has since taken to Twitter and his own platform Gab to complain about Y Combinator’s decision, pointing out several hypocrisies.
“This is a quintessential example of Silicon Valley censorship in action. These are the people who own and control every form of online communication and other digital products we all use everyday,” concluded Torba. “They believe in censoring opposing views for the sake of feelings. They believe insults are criminal. They are not welcoming to conservatives and others who think differently than them. This is why we are building Gab: to give everyone a voice and empower them to speak freely.”
Breitbart Tech reached out to Sam Altman for comment but did not receive a reply.