David Geffen, the American businessman, movie producer, film studio executive, and philanthropist, is perhaps best known for creating Dreamworks Studios with fellow billionaire Stephen Spielberg. I mean, the guy is rich. How rich is he? He’s so rich, no one can make a “How rich is he?” joke that makes him laugh, because they all are true applied to him. Anyway, Geffen just got in trouble because of this Instagram message:
..showing his $400 million superyacht, Rising Sun, off the coast of the Grenadines, a chain of small Caribbean islands in the lesser Antilles.
Indignation and anger erupted on the Left and Right. Here’s Market Watch snarking,
If ever there were doubts about how the superaffluent are faring amid a pandemic for the ages, media mogul David Geffen wants to make it abundantly clear that, for his part, he’s doing just fine — and he wishes us all the best… The self-made billionaire doesn’t owe the rest of the world anything, presumably, but his tweets and tone may underscore the yawning chasm between how the 1% can cope with isolation amid a pandemic that has deeply altered the normal patterns of society — perhaps, permanently. A recent New York Times article published on March 5 highlighted the lifestyles of the rich and famous amid the pandemic, which featured the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow en route to Paris Fashion Week wearing a pricey black face mask, while many health-care workers are struggling to obtain lifesaving masks for their jobs.
“The rich are sparing no expense when it comes to minimizing their experience with the coronavirus,” the Times story observed. The Guardian wrote that the wealthy are taking to private jets to escape the virus, while other affluent folk are fleeing to places like the Hamptons and Cape Cod, taking refuge in their posh summer homes or ensconcing themselves in luxurious rental properties…The expanding distance between the haves and the have-nots, however, isn’t sitting well with many.
“The View’s Meghan McCain said, “David Geffen is worth 8 billion dollars! For God’s sake help this country get ventilators, our health workers masks and the medical supplies they need! Or no, just stay on your fucking yacht instagramming. This is just shameful and grotesque.” “David Geffen could have donated that yacht to NYC to be used as a makeshift hospital,” New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali tweeted. Film producer Robby Starbuck tweeted, “David Geffen’s thought process: ‘Hey you know what, millions are losing their jobs, can’t pay their rent and they’re worried about a deadly pandemic, I bet they’d love to know how I’m doing. Fire up the copter so we can take some more pics of my yacht! They’ll love this!!!”
Geffen is a progressive and a contributor to Democratic candidates, so he got no passes from conservatives either. “David Geffen tacitly tells the rest of the world to get bent,” wrote conservative pundit Ed Driscoll. A commenter on Instapundit wrote,
Dear Mr. Geffen: Marie Antoinette voiced a similar tone during the French Revolution (although there is debate wether she said, “let them eat cake” or not) and she literally lost her head. Best you stay on your boat for awhile…..
Geffen has made his Instagram account private.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day…
Does David Geffen deserve all the abuse for his message and photograph?
My answer: Nope! His mistake is not understanding how much class hatred has taken the Left, where his allies reside, by the throat and shaken the sense out of them. Their anger is rooted in envy and jealousy. He has a huge yacht, and its a great time to use it. He wished the world well and showed everyone a nice scene that most people won’t see. Anyone who regards such a message as offensive is looking for someone to focus their anger and frustration on.
If the lifestyles of the rich and famous are so offensive to you, why are you following the Instagram accounts of billionaires?
Given the attitudes of those he regards as ideological allies, it was foolish of him to forget the natural results of the political views he supports, but that doesn’t make it wrong. The criticism was a mass of pettiness and cheap shots. His tweet had nothing to do with all the pandemic stats Market Watch appended to its article about Geffen’s message. It’s like the killjoys who complain, “How can you celebrate Christmas with all the hunger in the world?”
Wajahat Ali complaining that he could be using his yacht as a hospital ship is more of the unethical, “do what I want you to do with your wealth, not what you want to do” routine. My message to the Times writer: Why don’t you get cracking and make a few billion dollars of your own and do it yourself? Or at least spend your time volunteering to get groceries for elderly shut-ins rather than attacking what others are doing?
The conservatives mocking Geffen are predictably throwing metaphorical tomatos at a rich progressive who gave them a target. The David Geffen Foundation funds health clinics, theaters, museums, and charities for the homeless; he has earned his lifestyle. The Right’s criticism is hypocritical.
What do you think?