I’m sorry about what I’m about to do here, but let’s talk about divorced men. I think Sergey Brin is trying to smear his ex-wife, and I think he’s using his history with Elon Musk to do it.
Musk reportedly had an affair with Brin’s wife, which led to their divorce. (allegedly.) Then at a party, Musk fell to his knees and begged for Brin’s forgiveness, “according to those with knowledge of the incident,” The Wall Street Journal writes. What a story!
Except: I find this sourcing weird. How many people? Two sources differ from 10 sources on this, or 30, you know? And what kind of knowledge? Were they there? I understand you want to protect your resources, sure, but I need more context to understand how seriously to take it. Can I be sure Musk, who is often late with trends, wasn’t? just try to Ice brin?
I’m asking these pointed questions because I find that Brin is still battling it out with his soon-to-be ex-wife Nicole Shanahan in court. Brin’s lawyers claim she’s asking too much – rumored to be a billion dollars WSJ. I don’t know how the WSJ I got this story from, but I think it’s more likely that he benefits from it than she does. If he proves that she is unfaithful, he may keep more of his money. And if she’s worried that more news about their marriage will make the papers, she’s more likely to settle soon.
Shanahan has denied an affair with Muskand an anonymous source close to her has the New York Post That she is a ‘pawn’ in ‘playboy games for billionaires’. I’m a little skeptical about anonymous reporting from one source, but NYP rarely misses in celebrity coverage, possibly due to its extremely strong relationships with publicists. (Page six is not what it used to be, but it’s still formidable.)
If the people at Brin are indeed behind the leak, that makes Musk’s reaction funnier. Musk says: he’s seen Shanahan twice in the past three years – and never alone. “I haven’t had sex in ages (sigh)”, he adds. After all, he can access a Berlin sex club just last April.
To prove that things are going well between him and Brin, Musk posted a photo of them at the same party in response to a… Wall Street Journal editor who had tweeted the story. A strange choice. I remember an earlier photo that Musk was asked about: one of him with Ghislaine Maxwellthe right-hand man of Jeffrey Epstein who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sex trafficking. Musk says she “photobombed” it.
It’s kind of weird to deny that a photo is proof of a friendship, and then post a photo as proof of a friendship. Musk was right about the Maxwell photo denial: A photo of two people at the same party doesn’t say much.
Look at the photo with Brin: Musk in the foreground; Brin in the background, with no eye contact with the camera, maybe not even aware that he was being photographed. The two are under a tent and Brin is holding a plastic cup – some sort of party. There are two other people in the photo who appear to be either children or very small adults. one wears overwatch cosplay. I spent too much time identifying the trees in the background to find a location. (Yes, I emailed experts. They said the trees were too low resolution to identify.)
As for the date and location: according to the Twitter account that tracks his movements, Musk’s jet flew to San Jose . airport on July 23 and departed on the evening of July 24. In response to Musk’s tweet, a chef named Andrew Gruel (cool aptonym, very Dickens!) says: that he could confirm that Musk and Brin attended the party together, where they were served lobster-filled eggs. Gruel is based in Huntington Beach, California, where he left the patio of one of his restaurants open during Governor Gavin Newsom’s order to stay at home, perhaps a point of agreement with Musk.
“Nicole and Sergey’s divorce has absolutely nothing to do with me,” Musk emailed the New York Post. (This is also, for what it’s worth, the second celebrity divorce in which Musk has been accused of burglary; Johnny Depp claimed Musk started a relationship with his now-ex-wife, Amber Heard, a month after Depp and Heard got married.)
Brin invested at least $500,000 in Tesla, according to Tim Higgins’ book power game. Brin may have invested an undisclosed amount in 2006, according to Insider. According to the recent WSJ story, Brin “ordered his financial advisers to sell his personal investments in Mr. Musk’s companies,” although the story did not determine the size of the investments or whether any sales had taken place.
I think I know why! Because all those investments, if sold, would be part of Brin and Shanahan’s negotiations over their divorce. The point of the WSJ story is to smear Shanahan, not to tell her where all the money is! Brin can still party with Musk, but it seems his lawyers hung Musk to dry in order to reach Shanahan.
Why the aggression towards Musk? They have history. It’s possible that Musk stole the name “Autopilot” from Google in the first place. Apparently Larry Page and Brin were thinking of buying Tesla while letting Musk be in charge, according to Ashlee Vance’s biography of Musk. This didn’t happen, largely because of Musk’s PT Barnum-esque self-promotional abilities. “With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that Musk was – at the very least – inspired or scared” in self-driving cars, wrote Edward Niedermeyeranother Musk biographer.
In 2018, before Brin left Google, it was clear that there was a rivalry between Tesla and Google’s self-driving car division, Waymo. In January 2021, CEO of Waymo John Krafcik said:“To us, Tesla is not a competitor at all.” Waymo even scrapped the term “self-driving” to refer to its autonomous vehicles in 2021, saying: “It may seem like a small change, but it’s an important one, because precision in language is important and can save lives.” This seems like a dig at Tesla, which calls its driver assistance program “fully self-driving.”
Now, to be clear, most of the Waymo/Tesla beef has started after Brin left Google. And Brin and Musk certainly seem to be at the same party. But I have to say – unless Brin and Musk agreed on the leaking of the… WSJ story together to fuck Shanahan as part of a tech-bro conspiracy – they look a lot more like enemies, special since Brin hasn’t said anything publicly to clarify this.
Tech-bro enemies are a staple of Silicon Valley. Musk’s long relationship with Peter Thiel, who carried out the coup at PayPal that pushed Musk out, is a prime example. All these guys need each other and maybe they have some kind of low-key dislike for each other too. Seems stressful to me! But it seems that everyone here is getting what they need, except possibly Shanahan, which is also very Silicon Valley.
As for Musk’s woe–is-me tweets about note: lol, lmao. His whole game with small shareholders is about attracting attention. My man loves it! To remind the McLaren? Do you remember the song “Don’t Doubt ur Vibe?” The fake robot? Musk seems like an obvious student of NASA scientist (and Nazi) Wernher von Braun, and Twitter is where he gets his version of “Humans will soon conquer space.” He needs attention. Isn’t that what he buys Twitter for?
Which could mean that Brin and Musk are still friends. I’m pretty sure at this point that Musk can’t tell the difference between good attention and bad attention. As long as he’s the center of attention, he’s happy — because attention sells Teslas.