To Do Politics or Not Do Politics? Tech Begin-Ups Are Divided

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To Do Politics or Not Do Politics? Tech Start-Ups Are Divided

The start-up culture wars can also be seen in the clubhouse, where people enter rooms and chat with each other. The app was a popular place for investors like Marc Andreessen and other tech freaks to dwell in the pandemic. (Mr. Andreessen's venture company, Andreessen Horowitz, has invested in Clubhouse, Coinbase and Soylent.)

On October 6th, Mr. Andreessen opened a clubhouse room called “Holding Space for Karens”, which describes empathy for “Karens”, a slang term for a pushy privileged woman. Another group, "Holding Space for Marc Andreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessen", soon emerged. There people discussed their disappointment with the Karen discussion and other cases where they said the clubhouse was hostile to people of color.

Mr. Andreessen and others later opened a clubhouse room called "Silence" where no one spoke. Andreessen Horowitz declined to comment.

In a “town hall” in the app on Sunday, the founders of the clubhouse, Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, were asked about the political statements of Coinbase and Expensify and the status of the clubhouse. They said the company is still deciding how Clubhouse would publicly support social causes and felt the platform should take multiple viewpoints into account, a spokeswoman said. She declined to comment further.

But even those who want to stay out of politics find it hard to avoid. On Saturday, Mr. Armstrong shared Mr. Rhinehart's blog post supporting Mr. West on Twitter. "Epic," tweeted Mr. Armstrong.

Several users pointed to the hypocrisy when Mr Armstrong shared something political after telling staff to abstain. One of his associates, Jesse Pollak, wrote that Mr. Armstrong shared something with "a large number of inaccuracies, conspiracy theories and misguided assumptions".

Soon after, Mr. Pollak and Mr. Armstrong deleted their tweets.