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Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao said Monday that Ghislaine Maxwell attended a 2011 party in Silicon Valley hosted by the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.
"We knew about her supplying underage girls for sex, but I guess that was fine with the 'cool' people who managed the tightly controlled guest list," Pao wrote in a tweet.
Pao, a former partner at Kleiner Perkins, later clarified to Business Insider that people at the party "suspected" Maxwell was guilty because some of Epstein's victims had already come forward to accuse Maxwell of aiding in the abuse.
Maxwell was arrested last week and is charged with procuring and transporting minors for illegal sex acts alongside her long-time boyfriend and associate Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein previously met with tech leaders including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Reid Hoffman.
Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao says Ghislaine Maxwell was rubbing elbows with Silicon Valley's elites in 2011 — and Pao believes people suspected Maxwell's ties to child trafficking at the time and didn't care.
Maxwell was arrested last week and is awaiting trial for four criminal charges related to procuring and transporting minors for illegal sex acts. Prosecutors say Maxwell participated in a sex trafficking operation alongside her partner Jeffrey Epstein.
Pao, a former partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, said Maxwell was at the firm's holiday party in 2011, more than two years after Epstein was first convicted of soliciting sex from a 14 year old. Maxwell was Epstein's long-time girlfriend and associate at the time but did not face any criminal charges prior to her 2020 arrest.
"[Maxwell] was at the Kleiner holiday party in 2011, but I had no desire to meet her much less have a photo taken with her," Pao wrote in a tweet, screenshotted and reposted by reporter Lachlan Markay. "We knew about her supplying underage girls for sex, but I guess that was fine with the 'cool' people who managed the tightly controlled guest list."
Pao set her Twitter account to private Monday morning after sending the tweet. When reached for comment by Business Insider, Pao shared two additional tweets that she subsequently posted clarifying her remarks. In one tweet, Pao linked to a Daily Mail report published in March 2011 in which Epstein's victims accused Maxwell of participating in the abuse.
"To be clear, the press had described her as supplying underage girls for sex, but she had not been charged so I guess it would be more accurate to say we 'suspected' v 'knew,'" Pao wrote.
When another Twitter user pressed Pao about why she didn't speak out about Maxwell, Pao responded that "what I said made no difference here."
Kleiner Perkins is a storied Silicon Valley VC firms that provided early funding to companies including Amazon, Square, Snap, Google, and Twitter. Pao, a former partner at the firm, left in 2012. She later filed a lawsuit alleging that she was fired for complaining about gender discrimination, but lost that case.
According to a 2011 Business Insider report, the Kleiner Perkins holiday party that year drew esteemed guests including former Vice President Al Gore, Apple VP of Engineering Mike Abbott, and former HP chairman Ray Lane.
A Kleiner Perkins spokesperson declined to comment.
Epstein and Maxwell have had multiple brushes with Silicon Valley's elite, many of whom have since declined knowing the full extent of their alleged crimes. Epstein was known to pursue relationships with tech leaders, business owners, and academics at elite universities — in March 2011, he sat down to dinner with a slate of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google cofounder Sergey Brin, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Musk was also photographed with Maxwell at an Oscars afterparty in 2014. Musk claims that he did not know Maxwell and that she "photobombed" him at the time. Epstein, who died by suicide in jail in August 2019 — said in 2018 that he had given advice to Musk. A spokesperson for Musk denied the claim.
Epstein also knew Bill Gates, meeting with the Microsoft founder multiple times following Epstein's first conviction for sex crimes in 2008. Gates later said he met with Epstein to try to secure funding from Epstein for his charities, calling it a "mistake in judgement."
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