After a weekend uproar over a tweet in which local political donor Garry Tan posted that some SF supervisors should “Die slow,” three supervisors say they received physical hate mail citing the tweet and reading “I wish a slow and painful death for you and your loved ones.”
We reported Monday on what seemed like a minor local social media dust-up, where tech CEO and significant SF political donor Garry Tan went on an apparently drunken late-night tweet-storm saying that seven members of the SF Board of Supervisors should “Die slow motherfuckers.” The words were a reference to Tupac Shakur lyrics, Tan apologized and deleted the tweet, and it seemed like a bizarre one-day story.
But oh, things have escalated since. The Chronicle now reports that two supervisors named in the tweet, Dean Preston and Aaron Peskin, had received threatening hate mail citing the tweet. As seen above, the mailers which both supervisors say were sent to their home addresses, read, “Garry Tan is right! I wish a slow and painful death for you and your loved ones.”
UPDATE: A third San Francisco supervisor received a letter threatening her & her family—& featuring Y Combinator CEO Garry Tan’s portraiture— Mission Local (@MLNow) January 31, 2024
Myrna Melgar, one of seven supes named in Tan’s “die slow motherfuckers” diatribe, said Wednesday she got one toohttps://t.co/3QZwdzCSAi pic.twitter.com/mJqncg2vuK
Then late Wednesday morning, Mission Local reported that Supervisor Myrna Melgar also received the same threatening mailer. The Chronicle adds that Peskin and Supervisor Connie Chan had filed police reports over the tweet even before the mailers had arrived, and Melgar and Supervisor Ahsha Safai (who was also named in the “Die slow motherfuckers” tweet) told Mission Local they intended to file police reports as well.
For whatever it’s worth, the “I wish a slow and painful death for you and your loved ones” mailer also contained a disclaimer at the bottom saying, “this mail was sent to communicate a political opinion. No threats were intended.”
But in the wake of the Paul Pelosi home invasion attack, and SF being the city that saw the Harvey Milk and George Moscone murders, some supervisors on the receiving end see these threats as hardly innocuous.
“Calling for the death of elected officials, especially in a city with a history of horrific political violence, should automatically disqualify someone from having a seat at the table in charting the future of our city,” Preston told the Chronicle. “Elected officials, candidates, and political organizations should condemn this behavior, return donations, and sever any ties to people like Tan who threaten political violence.”
(Tan sits on the board of the local tech advocacy group Grow SF, whose political action committee makes significant local political donations.)
Tan has apparently hired longtime Bay Area public relations figure Sam Singer as a spokesperson. Singer said in a statement to the Chronicle that “Garry Tan made a terrible mistake in quoting rap lyrics and referencing members of the Board of Supervisors. He withdrew the tweet and has apologized to the Supervisors for his lack of judgment and decorum.” Singer also said that whoever sent the mailers “did something that was inappropriate and wrong.”
While it’s now reported that three supervisors received the threatening hate mail to their home addresses, it would not be a shock if some of the other four mentioned in Tan’s tweet also receive the “I wish a slow and painful death for you” mailers. This obviously creates an awkward situation for Grow SF (which has been silent over this mess, and SFist has reached out to them for comment), and all of their endorsed candidates.
Grow SF generally supports SF’s political moderates. But now that their donor's messaging is inspiring what can clearly be considered death threats, well, that kind of message is anything but moderate.
Image: LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 06: Garry Tan (L), Co-founder & Managing Partner and Tim Draper, Founder, Draper Associates 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)