Tell me you need a new hobby without telling me you need a new hobby…
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Steve Kirsch tries to bribe seatmates to remove masks
Tech millionaire Steve Kirsch seems to have too much time and money on his hands. In a Tweet published yesterday that has now been viewed over 20 million times, Kirsch claims that he offered his Delta first class seatmate $100,000 to remove her mask for the entire flight. This was after he “explained they don’t work,” and he claims that the seatmate works for a pharmaceutical company.
In a subsequent Tweet, he claimed that he started by offering her $100, and worked up from there.
After she rejected his offer, he decided to harass his seatmate even further and “point out” that when she removed her mask for eating and drinking, “she could be infected with one breath.”
This is the second time in a matter of days that Kirsch has tried to pull off such a stunt. Several days ago he was flying Southwest, and claims he offered his seatmates $10K if they’d remove their masks for the duration of the flight. They declined, and he said that maybe he should offer $100K next time, presumably leading to yesterday’s stunt.
For context, Kirsch claims to be trying to help with COVID-19, but has been tied to all kinds of misinformation about masks and vaccines.
What exactly is Kirsch trying to accomplish?
Kirsch’s behavior seems to be bordering on harassment (and that’s being charitable). To repeatedly offer someone an increasing amount of cash to take off their mask, and then to chastise them when they eat, is ridiculous.
I don’t know what Delta’s inflight announcements are like nowadays, but I know on American there’s a specific announcement requiring that passengers respect the decision of fellow passengers as to whether or not they choose to wear a mask. I think Kirsch’s behavior crosses that line.
Now, I’ve shared my approach to masking when flying, and I continue to typically wear masks at airports and during boarding. That being said, if Kirsch would like to offer me $100K, I’d gladly take my mask off for a flight.
For me, wearing a mask is a calculated decision to reduce my general risk of getting sick, and the inconvenience associated with it. It’s not just about coronavirus, it’s about all the other things I can get, as I want to be out of commission for as little time as possible.
That being said, for $100K I’ll gladly take the slightly increased risk of catching a cold, or whatever else.
Bigger picture, though, what exactly is Kirsch hoping to accomplish? Does he think that by offering someone cash to take off their mask, that he’ll somehow change their minds as to whether or not masks work? This accomplishes absolutely nothing, and I’d expect someone as bright as him to understand that.
Masks don’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing. Someone who chooses to wear a mask in some situations doesn’t always have to wear a mask, and doesn’t have to explain to others why they choose to do so.
Steve Kirsch claims to be repeatedly offering his seatmates big payouts if they’re willing to take off their masks, up to $100K. Personally I’m a little skeptical as to how accurate these claims even are, and that’s me trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Because offering people you’re stuck in a metal tube with money to do something seems… a little weird.