Veteran tech columnist Kara Swisher, once branded “the most powerful tech journalist” in the US, has been accused of bullying the subjects of her reporting, including by launching vicious personal attacks.
A heated exchange of ‘pleasantries’ erupted on Twitter over the way Swisher announced an upcoming event that she and her co-host at the Pivot podcast are scheduled to hold in Miami Beach. In mid-February, the two will come to “annoy” some of “the most irritating Silicon Valley people” living in Florida at their request, she joked.
Somebody posted the quote, commenting: “tech people: we hate you, give us money”. To which the journalist responded: “Meet the perpetual snowflakes of tech who go on and on about living their best lives and then can’t take what is an obvious joke.”
Meet the perpetual snowflakes of tech who go on and on about living their best lives and then can’t take what is an obvious joke. We’re excited about the event and hope we host those who are excited about these topics. Also we like the beach. https://t.co/IIs03nASUp
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) December 7, 2021
Many people bristled at her biting style, and one of the critics, virtual reality inventor Palmer Luckey, chimed in to remind that she once called him “chubby”.
The journalist responded to the remark with a surprised “I did? When?” and saying that if that was true, she was “most certainly sorry”. Luckey fired back a barrage of accusations, calling Swisher “a schoolyard bully” with a habit of making fun of people’s physical appearance.
“Your namecalling includes calling me a manboy, a douche, a menace, not smart, a troll, etc,” he tweeted. “The whole ‘I am sorry and a serious responsible journalist’ shtick is so transparent. I won’t do another interview with you, stop asking.”
You have been namecalling, tagging me, and spreading false information about me to your 1M+ followers for years now. Over and over and over. The whole “I am sorry and a serious responsible journalist” shtick is so transparent. I won’t do another interview with you, stop asking.
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) December 7, 2021
Swisher interviewed Luckey along with Steve Wozniak in 2016. The younger man is best known as the founder of Oculus VR, the producer of virtual reality headset that is now owned by Mark Zucкerberg’s Meta. In addition to the status of a journalist whom Silicon Valley listens to, Swisher also has the advantage of greater experience over Luckey, with an almost 30-year age difference.
Witnesses to the exchange were eager to bring in ‘receipts’ – screenshots of Swisher’s tweets showing that kind of behavior.
Swisher, who has been described as “the most powerful tech journalist” in the US, is known for her often-abrasive communication style, like when she used a scoop about Yahoo to scold the company’s “slow-moving PR chief” for failing to get back to her three years prior.