A seemingly drunken and now-deleted tweetstorm from Y Combinator CEO and political donor Garry Tan called on most of the SF Board of Supervisors to “Die slow motherf***ers,” which may be awkward for one supervisor candidate whose company funding is linked to Tan.
If you’re like many San Franciscans on Twitter, there’s a good chance you are blocked by highly vocal local tech CEO Garry Tan. So you may not have seen a series of eyebrow-raising (and seemingly drunken?) tweets Tan posted late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Tan is best known for being the CEO of the VC firm Y Combinator, but has also donated well over $100,000 toward moderate causes in the last couple years, and serves as a board member of the very active tech-funded political group Grow SF.
Garry Tan, the Y Combinator CEO & a deep-pocketed campaign donor to San Francisco’s moderates, joked about a slow death for seven city supervisors last night—apparently while drunk.— Mission Local (@MLNow) January 27, 2024
“Die slow motherfuckers,” he wrote, a Tupac reference.
via @jrivanob https://t.co/ze8PxcHZk4
But as Mission Local reports, Tan appeared to engage in a “die slow motherfucker” rant on Twitter in the wee hours Saturday morning, clearly directed at seven of the 11 members of the SF Board of Supervisors. The thread has since been deleted.
“Fuck Chan, Peskin, Preston, Walton, Melgar, Ronen, Safai, Chan as a label and motherfucking crew,” Tan posted to his 400,000+ Twitter followers at 12:25 a.m. Saturday morning. “Die slow motherfuckers.”
This turns out to be a Tupac Shakur reference.
Had Tan been drinking? His response to one of the tweets indicates so. One user replied “I think Garry may be hammered,” to which Tan replied “You are right and motherfuck our enemies.”
Garry Tan is Michael from Office Space in that scene where he’s sitting in traffic blasting hip hop until a black guy walks by and he locks his car doors.— Single Purpose Great Account (@berrymanilo161) January 27, 2024
Yes, the original tweet was a reference to lyrics reference to the 1996 Tupac track “Hit ‘Em Up,” to whatever degree that is a valid defense. And Tan did issue a Saturday morning apology saying “Last night I thought everyone would get the rap reference, but that wasn’t a good call, reference or not - sorry!”
This was accompanied by a fuller apology at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, saying, “I apologize to the Board of Supervisors for my comments late last night in a post. There is no place, no excuse and no reason for this type of speech and charged language in discourse. I am sorry for my words and regret my poor decision. I love San Francisco. I know the community will hold me accountable and keep focused on our true mission: making San Francisco a vibrant, prosperous and safe place.”
Yet Mission Local got comment from most of the eight motherfu — errm, supervisors named in Tan’s rant. These responses ranged from “People should stop treating him like a serious person” (Sup. Dean Preston), to “Never heard of him,” (Sup. Supervisor Shamann Walton).
And as usual, Supervisor Aaron Peskin was not at a loss for words. “The thing that we’ve learned from Donald Trump is that violent words actually have a terrible outsized impact on angry people in our society,” Peskin told Mission Local, saying Tan’s remarks were “unacceptable violent speech that should not be condoned in our society from anyone, particularly a tech millionaire.”
The remarks may create an awkward situation for District 5 supervisor candidate Bilal Mahmood, as the company Mahmood co-founded, ClearBrain, is listed as a Y Combinator-funded company — though Tan was at a different VC firm called Initialized Capital when when ClearBrain was funded by Y Combinator in 2018. Mahmoud, who previously ran for state Assembly, is a largely self-funded candidate for supervisor, but the connection to Tan in this case could get awkward. As of press time, Mahmoud’s campaign has not responded to a request for comment.
This incident sure raises questions about the level of professionalism at GrowSF, where again, Tan is listed as a sitting board member. (GrowSF also has not returned comment for this article as of press time.) How much money has the GrowSF political action committee pumped into the local 2024 elections? We don’t yet know, but we’ll have some idea later this week, as campaign financial disclosures are due January 31.
Which means that more candidates for office may face difficult questions about a late-night “Die slow motherfuckers” tweet from one of their very generous benefactors.
Image: LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 06: Garry Tan, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Initialized Capital on Centre Stage during the opening day of Web Summit 2018 at the Altice Arena on November 6, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Seb Daly/Web Summit via Getty Images)