Protesters targeted Google Ventures exec Kevin Rose's home Sunday
They are angry about gentrification, influx of high-paid tech workers in the Bay Area
The group demanded $3 billion from Google to set up "anti-capitalist" communities
Rose co-founded Digg, the news-aggregation site, before going to Google
This city’s anti-tech backlash took a new turn Sunday when protesters lashed out at Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose, waving banners outside his home while demanding that Google fund “anti-capitalist” communities in the Bay Area.
Claiming to represent service workers, the protesters handed out fliers in the city’s Potrero Hill neighborhood that called Rose a “parasite” and blamed him for helping fuel the “tech startup bubble that is destroying San Francisco.”
The episode was the latest in a wave of anti-tech-industry protests that have been picking up steam in this city over the past year. Protesters complain an influx of highly paid tech workers is driving up rents, forcing out longtime residents and robbing the city of its famously eccentric character.
Most of the anti-tech fervor has focused on big-name companies such as Google and Twitter and the private bus systems that ferry their employees from the city to various corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley.
It’s rarer for the protests to target specific people, although in January an unidentified group protested at the Berkeley home of a Google engineer best known for helping develop the company’s self-driving car.
The 37-year-old Rose is probably best known as the co-founder of Digg, the news aggregation site he helped launch in 2004. After Rose’s last startup was acquired by Google, he went to work at Google Ventures, where he helps decide which startups the company’s venture-capital arm will invest in.
The protesters claim such funding encourages too many young, wealthy entrepreneurs to move to the Bay Area.
Rose met the protesters head-on by posting an image of their flier to Instagram and Twitter. In a tweet Sunday he noted as “odd” their use of Google products, such as Android phones and YouTube, to tape and share videos of the protests.
But he also said he agreed with the protesters in part.
“We need to solve rising rents, keep the SF culture, and crack down on landlords booting folks out,” Rose tweeted. “SF is such a great place, definitely need to figure out a way to keep the diversity.”
A local group called Counterforce appears to have claimed responsibility for the protest, posting a lengthy screed about Rose on a blog, kevinroseisaterribleperson.wordpress.com. The post demands that Google give $3 billion to an anarchist organization so it can “create autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.”
Google has not yet publicly responded to the demand.