A coterie of Silicon Valley's elite power brokers gathers regularly to indulge in discreet parties promising drug-fueled sex, according to a new report.
Writing for Vanity Fair, Emily Chang sought to peel back the curtain on a custom known to some in the industry, but secretive enough that most of the two dozen sources in her article required a guarantee of anonymity just to talk.
"About once a month, on a Friday or Saturday night, the Silicon Valley Technorati gather for a drug-heavy, sex-heavy party," Chang wrote. "Sometimes the venue is an epic mansion in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights; sometimes it’s a lavish home in the foothills of Atherton or Hillsborough. On special occasions, the guests will travel north to someone’s château in Napa Valley or to a private beachfront property in Malibu or to a boat off the coast of Ibiza, and the bacchanal will last an entire weekend."
Male participants reportedly include "powerful first-round investors, well-known entrepreneurs, and top executives," some of whom are "household names." But the female guests, Chang writes, "have different qualifications."
"If you are attractive, willing, and (usually) young, you needn’t worry about your résumé or bank account," according to Chang.
Her description of a typical party depicts a strange ritualism, a familiar understanding among the denizens of these elite binges.
This is how the night goes down, according to those who have attended. Guests arrive before dinner and are checked in by private security guards, who will turn you away if you’re not on the list. Sometimes the evening is catered. But at the most intimate gatherings, guests will cook dinner together; that way they don’t have to kick out the help after dessert. Alcohol lubricates the conversation until, after the final course, the drugs roll out. Some form of MDMA, a.k.a. Ecstasy or Molly, known for transforming relative strangers into extremely affectionate friends, is de rigueur, including Molly tablets that have been molded into the logos of some of the hottest tech companies ... As dopamine fires, connections spark around the room, and normal inhibitions drop away. People start cuddling and making out. These aren’t group orgies, per se, but guests will break out into twosomes or threesomes or more. They may disappear into one of the venue’s many rooms, or they may simply get down in the open. Night turns to day, and the group reconvenes for breakfast, after which some may have intercourse again. Eat, drugs, sex, repeat.
As one might expect, the cocktail of drugs and sex and powerful men and less powerful women appears to have contributed to an unhealthy gender dynamic in Silicon Valley. "If you do participate in these sex parties, don’t ever think about starting a company or having someone invest in you. Those doors get shut. But if you don’t participate, you’re shut out. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t," one woman told Chang.
For her part, Chang posits the "behavior at these high-end parties is an extension of the progressiveness and open-mindedness—the audacity, if you will—that make founders think they can change the world. And they believe that their entitlement to disrupt doesn’t stop at technology; it extends to society as well."
You can read the full article here.
It's a lot to distill and digest, especially in the context of #MeToo, where industries of high intrigue have fallen under media microscopes. But it would seem Silicon Valley is populated in part by a cult of powerful people increasingly convinced their own enlightenment gives them license to subvert the conventions of society, and to do it under the banner of cultural progressivism. These people aren't only powerful in the tech industry, they're powerful in politics.
There is ample reason to be concerned about the ethics of Silicon Valley. This is just another example.