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Tech guru stirs hornets’ nest, calls men who take 6 month paternity leave ‘losers’

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An apparently pro-masculinity tech entrepreneur has ignited a social media controversy by describing men in leadership positions as “losers” if they take extensive paternity leave.

In a long Twitter thread, Joe Lonsdale, a co-founder of software company Palantir Technologies and other ventures, was apparently reacting to a Joe Rogan episode in which the podcaster raised questions about U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s paternity leave in the midst of the supply chain crisis.

“Isn’t that supposed to be for the person who gave birth?,” Rogan reportedly wondered.

When an Axios editor tweeted that Spotify, the streaming service that distributes Rogan’s show, provides six months of paid parental leave without regard to gender as an employee benefit, Lonsdale provocatively responded as follows:

“Wow. Great for fathers to spend time [with] their kids and support moms, but any man in an important position who takes 6 months of leave for a newborn is a loser. In the old days men had babies and worked harder to provide for their future – that’s the correct masculine response.”

As the responses rolled in, and they were seldom supportive of his position, Lonsdale replied with variations on the same seemingly unpopular theme.

“I’m slightly confused why those who didn’t take six months off themselves as fathers are so offended by this – it’s clearly nonsensical for a leader, & even the most woke responders here take less. You can love your kids and spend lots of time [with] them without irresponsible leave.”

He also acknowledged that, as one Twitter pointed out, a policy that differentiates based on gender could lead to discrimination against women. “I respect that this is one theory behind this. Men who are leaders in key positions shouldn’t take the full six months cold turkey is my view on this and others agree but are afraid to say so.”

Lonsdale also claimed that he has started “six different billion-dollar companies,” and that a six-month absence for senior executives just isn’t viable in that kind of scenario, although some paternity-related time off “is great.”

According to Bloomberg Technology, Lonsdale later conceded that “using the word loser was ‘uncalled for,’ but he doubled down on the importance of maintaining traditional gender roles.”

Lonsdale also admitted that “This probably would have been better as a private comment, in retrospect, to be debated and moderated amongst friends. Although it proved amusing.”

“A father of three, Lonsdale is a regular critic of ‘woke’ politics. He is a longtime associate of Peter Thiel, the powerful conservative billionaire,” Bloomberg added.

One size never fits all, of course, in terms of child-rearing responsibilities in a family. Given where we are in contemporary culture, however, at least as it manifests itself online, the Twitter reaction was probably to be expected. Here is a sampling:

Robert Jonathan


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