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A tech tycoon has been branded a “creep” after allegedly offering a woman $100,000 to take off her face mask on board a Delta flight.
Steve Kirsch took to Twitter to say he made the anonymous passenger the offer last Friday.
“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,” the millionaire wrote. “No joke. This was after I explained they don’t work. She works for a pharma company.”
Kirsch accompanied his post with a selfie that showed him smiling on board the full flight. He did not disclose the destination to which he was traveling.
The Post reached out to Kirsch for comment.
Kirsch is a Silicon Valley veteran who is credited with one of the first versions of the optical mouse back in 1980. He later co-founded Frame Technology Corp, which was bought by Adobe in 1995, and created the search engine Infoseek, which 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 reports 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.
Kirsch followed up his initial tweet with a lengthy thread further explaining his interaction with the mask-clad traveler.
“I started the bidding at $100,” the businessman wrote. “And I pointed out that when she removed the mask for eating and drinking, she could be infected with one breath. So she had full disclosure.”
“She took off her mask as soon as the breakfast was served!!!! Because everyone knows you can’t get infected while you are eating!!” he sarcastically added, before concluding: “Maybe next time I’ll sit next to someone who had an account at Silicon Valley Bank.”
Kirsch’s Twitter thread quickly went viral, with many slamming the tech millionaire for his behavior.
“An entitled mansplainer! I bet the lady wished she had another seat,” one social media user responded.
“Harassed a woman minding her own business in a confined space where she couldn’t get away from you…. Lovely,” another charged.
Kirsch was also called a “creep” and a “noxious arrogant fool.”
However, there were some Twitter users who said they would have taken up Kirsch on the offer.
“I wish I was sitting next to you, I’d be richer now about $100,000 and I could have finally bought my daughters dream home,” one supporter stated. “But I wouldn’t need to be persuaded to take off the mask. Throughout the pandemic, I fought not to wear it.”
“Even if it was GUARANTEED I’d get COVID I’d take the $100k, depending on where I was going,” another declared.
Airlines and airports dropped mask mandates last April following a court ruling, although many travelers continued to opt for face coverings on flights.