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The millionaire tech tycoon who made global headlines for offering a female plane passenger $100,000 to remove her face mask has told The Post he has “no regrets” about his controversial offer.
Silicon Valley veteran Steve Kirsch, 64, was branded a “creep” after he outlined his encounter with the woman in a Twitter thread last Friday.
“I am on board a Delta flight right now,” he wrote in his first post, which has been viewed more than 32 million times. “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.”
Speaking with The Post on Thursday, Kirsch — once a prominent donor to Democrats, but who now won’t give a dime to members of that party — gave context about his conversation with the mask-clad passenger, saying it took place on a 4½-hour flight from San Francisco to Detroit.
“It was a cordial conversation,” the wealthy businessman insisted, adding that he is “never obnoxious and aggressive” when talking to people who are masked.
According to Kirsch, the woman, who he said was in her mid-60s, was actually the one who struck up the conversation.
“I asked her why she was wearing a mask,” he explained. “She said she was going to see her daughter and wanted to protect herself against COVID-19.”
The tech tycoon claimed he then made the “hypothetical” $100,000 offer to “question the intensity of her belief” that masks were an effective form of protection against the virus.
The woman said she would turn down the sum of money, with Kirsch claiming it “highlights the insanity some people have.”
“She believes it [the mask] works,” the tech tycoon explained in an exasperated fashion.
“I just wanted to understand how people believe this s – – t,” he added.
Despite vehemently disagreeing with the woman, Kirsch described her as “super nice” and said their encounter always remained friendly.
He even showed her the tweet he had posted about their encounter.
Kirsch is a Silicon Valley veteran who is credited with introducing one of the first versions of the optical mouse back in 1980.
He later co-founded Frame Technology Corporation, which was bought by Adobe in 1995, and created the search engine Infoseek, which was sold to Disney in 1999.
His net worth was reported at $230 million in 2007.
In 2020, Kirsch created a research fund for potential COVID treatments, pouring $1 million into the venture, according to MIT Technology Review.
However, the publication reported that he has since become a skeptic about authorized COVID vaccines and has spread “misinformation” about the pandemic online.
His Twitter feed, on which he describes himself as a “truth-teller” and “critical thinker,” is complete with links to articles that are also skeptical of COVID mandates and masking practices.
But Kirsch told The Post he has “never shared any misinformation” and said US authorities are scared of releasing data that links COVID vaccination to unexplained deaths.
Meanwhile, his “hypothetical” $100,000 offer to the female plane passenger isn’t the first pitch he’s made.
Kirsch has a Substack account, where on March 9 he published a post titled “I offered people $10,000 to take off their face masks for 60 minutes. Here’s what happened.”
“Masks don’t work and even if they did, people aren’t covering their eyes so the mitigation is completely useless and nonsensical,” the businessman wrote in his piece. “Despite that, people are so brainwashed with fear thanks to the CDC narrative that they would refuse an offer of $10,000 to take off their mask.”
Last fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services both still recommended masking up in certain circumstances.
In December, Los Angeles County was considering reinstituting a local indoor-mask mandate due to a coronavirus surge, with some pushback from experts.
Just last month a new study suggested that widespread masking may have done little to nothing to curb the transmission of COVID-19.
Kirsch’s reputation has taken a hit among well-heeled liberals in Silicon Valley since he started speaking out against official COVID measures.
However, the millionaire told The Post he isn’t bothered.
“I’m saving lives — I have no regrets,” he declared.