Peter Thiel, looking pensive.

Peter Thiel

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Updated Jul 12, 2022 at 01:22PM EDT by Zach.

Added Jul 11, 2022 at 05:30PM EDT by Aidan Walker.

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Peter Thiel is a German-American billionaire investor and tech mogul who co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies, and he was also an important early investor in Facebook. During the late 2000s and 2010s, Thiel was involved in a high-profile feud with the news site Gawker and notably funded Hulk Hogan's sex tape lawsuit. Over the years, Thiel has also funded a variety of right-wing political campaigns and cultural projects that have caused him to be a contentious figure among some online.


Thiel was born in Germany but immigrated to the United States as a young child. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in philosophy and then went on to found Confinity, one of the companies that merged with Elon Musk’s to form PayPal.[1] In 2004, he invested in Facebook and cofounded Palantir, a data-collection company that does a lot of intelligence and defense work for governments and has been criticized for its secrecy and alleged complicity in human rights abuses.[7]

Thiel has since cemented himself as a powerful venture capitalist and investor throughout the 2010s, supporting a variety of tech startups and companies across different industries, as well as cultural efforts.[2] He is noted for his libertarian ideology, support for Donald Trump and purported investments in right-leaning media outlets and content creators.

Online History

Gawker Bankrupting

In 2007, a Gawker media piece outed Thiel as gay. He retaliated with a multi-year campaign to tie the media outlet up in lawsuits and destroy it, as described in an extensive Forbes[4] article investigating his offensive. Thiel also funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit over the sex tape Gawker published without the pro wrestler’s consent, as well as several other lawsuits.

Gawker folded in 2016, and the revelation of Thiel’s involvement led many to question what the consequences for free speech would be, fearing Thiel had invented a template for wealthy people to intimidate and shut down media outlets through the legal system. Tweets like one from April 15th, 2022, by @NewYorkTimesPitchBot, which received over 900 likes in the course of three months, questioned the concern of Thiel associates like Elon Musk with free speech in light of Thiel's attack against Gawker.[11]

The New York Etme PA PARA CON New York Times Pitchbot @DougJBalloon Opinion | I'm a free speech advocate. Here's why Peter Thiel was right to sue Gawker into bankruptcy. by Elon Musk 2:48 PM Apr 15, 2022 · Twitter for iPhone 135 Retweets 4 Quote Tweets 911 Likes

Republican Donor

Thiel left the board of Facebook in 2022 and increased his financial support for Republican party candidates.[3] He has reportedly given millions of dollars to the Senate campaign of J.D. Vance in Ohio and the Congressional campaign of Blake Masters in Arizona.[5]


In 2022, a BuzzFeed[2] story about an “anti-woke film festival” that Thiel reportedly bankrolled in New York City trended online, allegedly connecting the billionaire to a series of underground artists and meme accounts. Post-left podcasts like Red Scare were accused of taking money from Thiel, as were reactionary influencers and memers associated with the "Dimes Square" scene on the Lower East Side.

Many memes were made about Thiel's reported involvement with that particular corner of internet culture, including one posted by Twitter[8] user @echo_chamberz on April 20th, 2022, which screenshots an article describing Thiel's purported funding of right-leaning media projects and pairs it with a meme of hefty Pepes standing in a line and captioned "Let's get in line for Thielbucks, boys." It received 60 likes over the course of three months (seen below).

Echo Chamber @echo_chamberz · Apr 20 In the future, Blake Masters doesn't rule out Peter Thiel funding an "army of meme posters". Let's get in line for Thielbucks boys. ww 3 some stuff," he told me. "But we h army of meme posters." He tol iel had met with Khachiyan, one Red Scare. "Which was cool," h cast is interesting.” James Pogue @jhensonpogue. Apr 20 I spent some time with Curtis Yarvin, JD Vance, and Blake Masters, and wrote a piece about the dissident right/new right/whatever you want to call it for @VanityFair 17 8 there was a world in which they om Thiel. "Maybe, yeah," he said weird stuff with the Thiel Foun 60

Prominent fake news Twitter poster @JUNIPER posted a tweet on April 24th, 2022, purporting to show a headline from the Intelligencer describing how journalist Glenn Greenwald accepted money from Thiel, receiving over 3,600 likes over three months (shown below).[9] "Thielbuck seeking" became a common charge leveled against those who seemed to spurt rightwing talking points.

PRESS transgender marx @JUNIPER. Apr 24 no f------ way THE MEDIA | APRIL 24, 2022 Glenn Greenwald Denounces his Homosexuality "Don't tell my husband" After Taking Peter Thiel Money By Eric Levitz @EricLevitz O 62 Intelligencer 124 3,608 MOST VIEWED STORIES : 1. Ivanka and Jared Ca Escape Neighbor Dr 2. 'We Woke Up and W Half Our Water' 3. Why France Is So Vu to Extremism 4. Under Oath, Marjor Greene Says She's 'N Advocated Violence

Bloodboy Rumors and Adrenochrome Conspiracies

Thiel is rumored on the internet to receive blood transfusions from a young person, a so-called "blood boy," in order to prevent the aging process — also known as adrenochrome harvesting. The conspiracy theory notably became a running gag on the HBO show Silicon Valley, which reportedly featured a character based on Thiel (seen below).[12] Thiel has shared in interviews that his goal is to live to at least 120 years of age, and publicly stated that he intends to be cryogenically frozen.[10]

Literary Output

Thiel is also notable as a thinker and writer with two authored books. His books on entrepreneurism, and especially his essay about 9/11 and his view of Western identity, “The Straussian Moment,”[6] are widely read.

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