After the Internet rightfully ridiculed Sean Parker for destroying the beautiful nature in San Francisco's famed Redwood Forest, the Internet entrepreneur has come out defending his nerd costume wedding because, among other things, he claims it was tasteful. "You mention that what we did was 'extravagant' yet none of the usual tasteless crap that rich people do at their weddings was present here -- no ice sculptures, no caviar, no pop stars hired to sing their hits songs, etc," Parker writes in an email to The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal, who had first revealed the California Coastal Commission report that forced Parker to pay $2.5 million for his ecological disaster of a reception. "This is why your article and so many other articles have been so deeply offensive." The classiness of the affair, which featured a fairy bride, is up for debate. Update: Valleywag has found some photo evidence of the tasteful affair. And, according to the New York Post, Sting sang to the couple — so he did have a "pop star to sing their hit songs." But that's all besides the point: Your wedding's cool factor has nothing to do with how terrible it was for the environment.
Parker, off course, has more defenses than taste, telling Madrigal he "consulted informally" with the Save the Redwoods League before the event — and that his event made the forest nicer. This "before" picture below, Parker alleges, was "probably" an after shot, showing how Parker's voluntary $2.5 million cleaned up a paved over spot in the area:
Parker continues: "When we found the Ventana campground site it was not exactly in pristine shape -- the natural ground cover was gone and it had been paved over with black asphalt!" In fact, Parker insists, the couple did everything to ensure his ceremony disturbed as little as possible:
We want to crazy lengths to ensure that nothing in the forest was harmed during the construction process. We used fabric liners to protect the ground from our landscaping work. We avoided planting directly in the soil, instead we brought in potted plants. Contrary to media reports, no redwood trees were harmed by the wedding or construction. (At least none that I'm aware of.)
While all of this certainly takes some of the sting away, there is one caveat that even Parker admits: "While we made some mistakes... Of course it's impossible to get everything exactly right at a production of this scale." Perhaps that the larger point is inadmissible If you really cared about the forest, maybe you would have just donated the money to the area in the first place — and have your multi-million dollar wedding elsewhere.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.