An established entrepreneur and technology inventor, multi-millionaire Steve Kirsch enjoys a public profile. There have been articles about Kirsch in the Technology Review at MIT, where he went to school, and his Wikipedia page is robust.
So it seems odd to describe Kirsch as a rando, internet-speak for “a person one does not know, especially one regarded as odd, suspicious, or engaging in socially inappropriate behavior.”
But if Kirsch sat down next to you on an airplane and didn’t hand you his CV, he’d be just that — a rando, like anyone without a famous face in an inorganic social situation like a flight.
I am on board a Delta flight right now. The person sitting next to me in first class refused $100,000 to remove her mask for the entire flight. No joke. This was after I explained they don’t work. She works for a pharma company. pic.twitter.com/Q8Hwzhkmxf— Steve Kirsch (@stkirsch) March 10, 2023
In the story Kirsch tells, he certainly appears to the woman sitting next to him to fit the above definition of a rando. By Kirsch’s own admission, he repeatedly tried to goad the woman into removing her mask, offering to pay her money to do it.
Beginning with an offer of $100 and increasing it to $100,000, Kirsch says, he was repeatedly rejected. Kirsch presents the story as an amusement. He is perplexed, he indicates, by what he views as his target’s ludicrous intransigence — why wouldn’t she take his money? He just can’t understand. Especially, as he goes on to claim, since she took her mask off to eat anyway?
But other perspectives surfaced in the comments, such as: “Ew. Do you make a habit of offering money to random women to remove coverings from their bodies mid-air?”
Another speculated that only a gullible mark would trust the offer, saying she said no “probably bc they (correctly) assumed you weren’t actually going to hand them $10,000 in the middle of a flight, you aren’t even flying first class, dude.”
This is wildly creepy, you get that, right? Every part of this. From the request, to the expression, to the fact you decided to tweet this!— Mike Stuchbery 💀🍷 (@MikeStuchbery_) March 11, 2023
Another let Kirsch know that trying to prove a point in midair, while insouciantly poking fun at someone else’s decision-making, isn’t exactly winning converts to his way of thinking. “This is wildly creepy, you get that, right? Every part of this…” says commenter. Another wrote simply: “Some people don’t compromise for money. Crazy huh?”
The criticism kept coming. Here’s an assessment of the situation by someone who lives outside of Kirsch’s head: “Wait, so she’s doing something that she believes would protect herself and others around her (whether you believe it or not) and you inserted yourself in her personal business to tell her not to do that, and it was none of your business in the first place? Damn, Steve lmao.”
Some people even gave Kirsch some friendly advice: “Here’s an idea. What if regardless of any ideologies – you accept people are different. Some have different beliefs than you. And that’s ok. Just spread some kindness and maybe just let people be?”
Less kind but more succinct is this sarcastic response: “Yeah, she’s definitely the weirdo in the story. Not you. Absolutely.” And the conclusion? “All you’re doing here is admitting you patronized and harassed a woman who made a decision she thought was best for her. Way to own yourself on here, man.”
All you’re doing here is admitting you patronized and harassed a woman who made a decision she thought was best for her. Way to own yourself on here, man.— Ocean (@OceanPleasant) March 11, 2023