A venture capitalist was immediately removed from the firm he co-founded after sharing a post on social media that said Israel was “warranted” to “handle Gaza” by setting up “education camps [and] sterilizations.”
Kenneth Ballenegger, a founding partner at San Francisco VC firm Oyster Ventures, wrote on X over the weekend: “After the war, Israel should handle Gaza like China handles Xinjiang. Full surveillance state. Re-education camps. Sterilizations.”
“It’s warranted and the only way to pacify the jihad population,” he added, according to screenshots of the post shared by pro-Israel organization Stop Zionist Hate on Monday after Ballenegger’s X account was set to private.
Ballenegger fired off another offensive post moments later that read: “They reproduce like rabbits and raise them to be terrorists, creating more poverty misery, and terrorism. Why should we allow that. The world would be a much better place if they didn’t reproduce.”
Sophia Liao, Ballenegger’s fellow co-founding partner at Oyster, moved swiftly to distance herself from her colleague, sharing a statement on X that said: “I’ve reached out to him directly to explain this and his immediate removal from the firm.”
“I want to be unequivocally clear: his statement was appalling,” Liao wrote.
She also noted that Oyster’s entire leadership team decided to “remove Kenneth Ballenegger as a partner in the firm.”
“This process will take time, but please be assured that Kenneth has been suspended immediately and these proceedings are underway,” Liao added in comments that were earlier reported on by Business Insider.
Liao continued: “On a personal note, as someone who survived and grew up under China’s one-child policy, it’s awful to see such a callous comparison made between such complex political environments. This perspective makes Kenneth’s choice of words even more distressing to me.” I’ve reached out to him directly to explain this and his immediate removal from the firm.”
The Post has sought comment from Oyster Ventures, which has invested in unicorn tech companies including e-commerce startup Bolt, online learning platform Masterclass, and gaming software company Conductive.AI, according to Dealroom.
As of Tuesday, it also appears that Oyster’s website has been down, as the company’s URL displays an error message.
Multiple companies in the banking and tech sectors have axed employees over offensive remarks related to the Israel-Gaza war.
Citibank last month fired banker Nozima Husainova after she wrote: “No wonder why Hitler wanted to get rid of all of them” alongside a smiley-face emoji on her Instagram Story.
Husainova shared the remarks with her 4,500 followers in response to a post about the Gaza hospital bombing that was initially blamed on Israel but was later revealed to have been caused by the Islamic Jihad terror group after its operatives misfired a rocket.
The bank called Husainova’s remarks “revolting” and “antisemitic.”
An Apple employee was also ousted for taking to Instagram to condemn “Zionists” for being “murderers and thieves.”
Natasha Dach was removed from Apple’s employee directory earlier this month after writing of Zionists:
“You sneak into countries, steal peoples lives, jobs, homes, streets, push them, bully them, torture them.”
Dach wrote that “when people act on it, you call it terrorism” — an apparent reference to the Oct. 7 surprise assault by Hamas which left at least 1,400 Israeli soldiers and civilians dead.