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Friday, December 10, 2021

Has Peter Thiel funded Quillette?

Byline Times has an interesting article on Trump-supporter Peter Thiel's international right-wing connections, entitled PETER THIEL’S Free Speech for Race Science Crusade at Cambridge University REVEALED.

The article revealed a fascinating tidbit that I hadn't known: Claire Lehmann sits on the advisory board of Toby Young's "Free Speech Union." 

But the biggest bombshell was the article's mention of a recently-published book, The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power by Max Chafkin, which claims that Thiel secretly funded Quillette.

Lehmann denies it:
Quillette founder Claire Lehmann has completely and unequivocally denied recent claims published in a new biography of the billionaire, The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power, by Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Max Chafkin that “Thiel was secretly funding” Quillette around 2016.

Lehmann told Byline Times that Chafkin’s account is “wrong on multiple levels” and based on the claims of “a notorious internet troll and fraudster”. Peter Thiel’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

However, the social connections of key Quillette contributors to the “Thiel network” around Cambridge University points to an alignment of interests and ideology illuminating the extent to which several Quillette writers and editors operate within Peter Thiel’s sphere of influence. 
But I'd believe almost anybody before I'd believe Claire Lehmann, up to and including a "notorious internet troll and fraudster."

I don't like The Baffler, but they get credit for mentioning the issue when the Chafkin book was first published, in September:

Bankrolling Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker is only the tip of the iceberg: one source told Chafkin that Thiel had secretly funded Quillette (Claire Lehmann, the publication’s founder, has said that Thiel’s start-up manual Zero to One, coauthored with Blake Masters, inspired her to create the magazine); he also funds a journal that questions the scientific consensus on evolution and climate change.

I'm kicking myself for missing this Thiel-Quillette claim for three months.

I've been wondering about Quillette's funding sources for years now. It was already obvious there was some connection between Thiel and the Intellectual Dark Web because crackpot Eric Weinstein works for Thiel, but I never found any information proving a direct funding connection.

Peter Thiel funding Quillette does seem inevitable and it would especially make sense because Quillette has been such a big supporter of right-wing grifter and Trump-aligned ratfucker Andy Ngo.