The Winklevii on the Warpath
What's behind the woulda-coulda Facebook founders' recent media blitz?
In Aaron Sorkin's Harvard, the Winklevoss twins incessantly debated the meaning of honor, fretted about being perceived as 80's movie bad guys and strictly adhered to the Gentleman's Code. But midway through the film, Cameron Winklevoss had it with the pesky computer geek who stole their social-networking idea, blurting: "Screw it. Let's gut the freakin' nerd."
If you've watched or read any of the real Winklevii interviews with The Daily, CNN, or New York magazine on their latest media blitz, you may have gotten the impression that the twins have slightly ratcheted up the rhetoric."The real life Zuckerberg, I don't think has ever shown an ounce of empathy," was one Winklevoss response given to the Daily when asked to compare Jesse Eisenberg's performance to the Facebook founder. "He's bordering on a sociopath," Tyler Winklevoss told New York's Jessica Pressler. And in response to a Piers Morgan question about whether Zuckerberg was an "amoral machine," Tyler figured, "that's kind of close to it."
While the Winklevoss twins have been openly campaigning for a "do over" of their settlement agreement in 2008, the interviews that they gave to media outlets last fall seemed to have less of an edge to them. On the Today Show with Mark Lauer last fall they refused to take the bait when asked whether they'd describe Zuckerberg as a "business whiz, genius, or evil genius." In a New York Post interview last September, the twins stuck to the differences between the movie and real life and the business reasons for reopening the lawsuit. Much of the same lawsuit speak was also given in a New York Times profile in late December 2010.
Contrast this with the more strident tone of the three part Daily interview with "childhood friend" Erin Ade, and the more combative tone in New York, and it's not a stretch to say they've reached the proverbial "gut the nerd" moment:
“By his nature,” adds Cameron, “he’s a bridge burner. He’s a scorpion. You know the story of the scorpion who takes a ride with the frog across the river? He’s like that. He can’t forge a relationship with people based on mutual respect and honesty. He can’t spend time working with other people and giving and taking. He’s a thief.”