Silicon Valley boss Joe Lonsdale under fire for saying paternity leave ‘is for losers’

Joe Lonsdale is the founder of Palantir (Getty Images)
Joe Lonsdale is the founder of Palantir (Getty Images)

The boss of a major Silicon Valley-based tech firm has come under fire for saying paternity leave is “for losers”.

Joe Lonsdale, a founder of software giant Palantir Technologies, made the comment during a discussion about Pete Buttigieg, the US transport secretary, who is currently taking time off to care for his newborn twins.

Mr Lonsdale said late on Wednesday: “Any man in an important position who takes six months of leave for a newborn is a loser.

“In the old days men had babies and worked harder to provide for their future – that’s the correct masculine response.”

Mr Lonsdale, a father of three, doubled down on his comments the next day despite claiming he had been “trolled” by other chief executives.

He said: “Over 10 CEOs so far today trolling me by explaining they are about to take six months off to spend with their families. Love you guys.

“Nothing is more important than our families*. Am excited to get home to Tayler and my girls tmrw after a short trip. *(But really, 6 months?).”

Mr Lonsdale later tweeted that loser was “too harsh” - insisting he was “being polemic in a reply on Twitter”.

Other leading technology bosses criticised his comments. Alexis Ohanian, a cofounder of Reddit and the husband of Serena Williams, wrote: “The correct masculine response is to do whatever it takes for your family and newborn.

“No one should have to choose between the ICU/NICU [newborn intensive care unit] and keeping their job.”

Mr Buttigieg, who ran to be Democrat nominee in 2020, has been on paid leave since August after adopting twin babies with his husband.

Mr Lonsdale is a close friend of Peter Thiel, the powerful Conservative billionaire, and regularly takes aim at “woke” politicians.

Last year, he moved from Silicon Valley to Texas, citing the state’s more liberal gun laws and lower income taxes as the reason for leaving California.

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