Reid Hoffman (left) said Elon Musk, a fellow member of the”PayPal Mafia” said Musk bought into the Vladimir Putin’s take on the war in Ukraine.
Noah Berger and Hannibal Hanschk via Associated Press
LinkedIn cofounder and Reid Hoffman skewered fellow Paypal Mafia member Elon Musk.
He said Musk “bought what Putin was selling, hook, line, and sinker” regarding the war in Ukraine.
After providing internet to Ukraine in February 2022, Musk reportedly grew anxious about his involvement.
LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman slammed his fellow Paypal Mafia member Elon Musk in a new exposé on Musk’s relationship with the US government.
Hoffman told The New Yorker Musk “bought what Putin was selling, hook, line, and sinker,” regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s account of the war in Ukraine.
Hoffman and Musk are worked together to build PayPal at the turn of the millennium.
“He was onstage, and he said, ‘We should be negotiating. Putin wants peace—we should be negotiating peace with Putin,'” Hoffman told The New Yorker, referencing Musk’s comments at a September 2022 conference in Aspen.
In October, Musk tweeted his idea for restoring peace in Ukraine, which parroted Kremlin talking points and suggested Ukraine cede territory to Russia. Nearly 60% of respondents voted “no” to Musk’s plan.
After he was taken to task for the idea, Musk clarified he supported Ukraine.
“SpaceX’s out of pocket cost to enable & support Starlink in Ukraine is ~$80M so far. Our support for Russia is $0. Obviously, we are pro Ukraine,” Musk tweeted hours after his poll. “Trying to retake Crimea will cause massive death, probably fail & risk nuclear war. This would be terrible for Ukraine & Earth.”
Musk also came under fire last fall over reports that he’d recently been in contact with Putin at the time, which the Kremlin and Musk both denied.
“I have spoken to Putin only once and that was about 18 months ago,” Musk tweeted. “The subject matter was space.”
In February 2022, days after the Russian invasion, Musk’s SpaceX has supplied Starlink satellites to Ukraine to help the country’s soldiers and some civilians retain internet access amid Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.
SpaceX’s Starlink services have been indispensable to Ukraine during the invasion, a US official and Ukrainian military members said.
“The strategic impact is, it totally destroyed [Vladimir] Putin’s information campaign,” US Brigadier General Steven Butow told Politico last June.
In September, SpaceX reportedly asked the Pentagon to start covering the cost of Starlink in order to keep it going. Musk estimated in October that sending Starlink satellites to Ukraine could cost more than $100 million by the end of 2022.
“We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote in a letter to the Pentagon, CNN reported at the time.
Musk later conceded: “The hell with it,” he tweeted. “Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free.”
“My inference was that he was getting nervous that Starlink’s involvement was increasingly seen in Russia as enabling the Ukrainian war effort, and was looking for a way to placate Russian concerns,” Colin Kahl, then the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, told The New Yorker.
Musk did not respond to a request to comment from Insider and decline to comment to The New Yorker.
Hoffman has called out Musk before, including for his stance on AI. In May, he said Musk was quietly trying to build his own AI venture while publicly calling for a pause on AI development in an open letter on the subject.
“And Elon — while signing that letter — is trying to hire a whole team and stand up an AI effort,” Hoffman said at the Milken Institute’s annual conference in May.
“Elon tends to have a ‘I must build it with my own hands'” approach, Hoffman told CNBC in April. “You look at what amazing stuff he’s done with SpaceX and Tesla, and it has the kind of ‘It’s only great if I do it.'”