Key Words: Spotted: Elon Musk on the dance floor at a Silicon Valley ‘cuddle puddle’ party
‘This party she describes, with the cuddle puddle and the molly and the stroking, wasn’t just some random rich dude’s house. This was a top-tier VC firm’s official party.’
That’s tech entrepreneur Paul Biggar, sounding off in a post on Medium about a high-powered soirée he attended last year.
And who was at this supposedly naughty get-together? None other than one of the most recognizable names in tech, apparently.
“The people at that party were really f—-ing rich and powerful people,” he wrote. “Apart from the [venture capitalists] themselves, Elon Musk was there; I saw him on the dance floor. I don’t know him, so I’m relying on vaguely recognizing the dude, as well as being told by our hosts that he was going to be there, along with all the people going, ‘OMG, that’s Elon Musk.’ ”
Musk has confirmed to Wired that he, indeed, was at the party, which was thrown by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, but it wasn’t the wild affair it was made out to be.
“That DFJ party was boring and corporate, with zero sex or nudity anywhere,” Musk said. “Nerds on a couch are not a ‘cuddle puddle.’ I was hounded all night by DFJ-funded entrepreneurs, so went to sleep around 1 a.m. Nothing remotely worth writing about happened. The most fun thing was Steve [Jurvetson] lighting a model rocket around midnight.”
To be fair, Biggar made clear he didn’t see the Tesla TSLA, +0.94% boss do anything illegal, take drugs or engage in intimate activity, and he also said he didn’t write his post to throw anybody specific under the bus. But he called the party a symptom of a much bigger problem facing the heart of tech country.
“I came to Silicon Valley to make things. While it’s true that wherever there is money and power there are going to be people who abuse it, we need to step up and stop this shit from going on,” Biggar said. “It is never OK to abuse your power to exploit women or any underrepresented group, or to allow your power to be used by others to do so.”
He was following up on an article published in Vanity Fair last week about Silicon Valley sex parties — “while the guys get laid, the women get screwed.” The story included this excerpt from Emily Chang’s upcoming book, “Brotopia”:
In June 2017, one young woman — let’s call her Jane Doe — received a Paperless Post invite for “a party on the edge of the earth” at the home of a wealthy venture capitalist. The invite requested “glamazon adventurer, safari chic and jungle tribal attire.” Ironically, the gathering was held just a week after sexual-harassment allegations against Binary Capital co-founder Justin Caldbeck had been reported, but that didn’t seem to discourage certain guests from indulging in heavy petting in the open.
Doe found herself on the floor with two couples, including a male entrepreneur and his wife. The living room had been blanketed in plush white faux fur and pillows, where, as the evening wore on, several people lay down and started stroking one another, Doe said, in what became a sizable cuddle puddle. One venture capitalist, dressed up as a bunny (it’s unclear how this fit into the edge-of-the-earth theme), offered Jane Doe some powder in a plastic bag. It was Molly. “They said it will just make you feel relaxed and you’re going to like being touched,” Doe recounted to me.
Actually, in Biggar’s view, this event was “way, way worse” than that, considering it was “run by the VC firm; organized by firm staff; the official afterparty of their big annual summit; at a general partner’s house; attended by (at least 2) other general partners; attended by firm staff; serviced by shuttles bringing attendees from the summit to the party; attended by portfolio founders, CEOs, and executives.”
In other words, it felt like an official corporate event. Just add drugs, sex and pressure on women to partake. Biggar admitted he left before much of the action supposedly started, so he didn’t see it all firsthand, but, he said, he saw enough.
“It’s incredibly f—ed up to use your power as an investor, or to allow your power to be used by others, to lure women to sex parties, or for this to be a means of women getting access to Silicon Valley’s power structures,” he wrote. “I have sent a letter to the investors involved asking for clarification on how this happened and how they plan to fix it.”
Jurvetson, who co-founded DFJ, stepped down in November following allegations of misconduct, which he denied.