Paddy Cosgrave, the head of Web Summit, criticized Western support for Israel on social media following Hamas attacks, the killing of Israeli civilians, including children whose heads were severed by terrorists, and the capture of hundreds of hostages. Later, Cosgrave apologized on the Web Summit website and resigned, according to Bloomberg.
Following this controversial statement, in addition to Google and Meta from Alphabet, Amazon.com Inc., Intel Corp., Siemens AG, Stripe Inc., a number of venture capitalists announced that they have cancelled plans to attend the Web Summit. According to the Israeli news site Calcalist, a group of Israeli investors issued a joint statement calling for a boycott of the event.
“Unfortunately, my personal comments have distracted attention from the event, our team, our sponsors, our startups, and the people attending,” Cosgrave said in an apology statement. “I sincerely apologize for any harm I have caused.”
It should be noted that last week, Cosgrave stated that he would stay in his position and assured employees that the organizers have enough money in the bank to continue their work for at least two more years.
However, the organizers of Web Summit will now appoint a new CEO as soon as possible, and the summit, scheduled to start on November 13 in Lisbon, will proceed as planned, they said in a statement sent by email on Saturday.
It’s worth noting that Cosgrave, along with David Kelly and Daire Hickey, founded Web Summit in Dublin in 2009. Then, in 2016, the event was moved to Portugal. The summit has become the largest tech conference in Europe, attracting technology companies and celebrities from around the world.
Last year, the summit had to rescind invitations to speakers from Grayzone after the negative reaction to the site’s anti-Ukrainian government narratives. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Grayzone published posts accusing high-ranking members of the Ukrainian government and military of having “sympathies for Nazis.”
In turn, Ukraine is seeking membership in the EU and NATO, with security guarantees and neighbouring policies as the cornerstones of Ukrainian diplomacy.
Grayzone is an ultra-left news site known for its critical coverage of the United States and its foreign policy and sympathetic coverage and support for authoritarian regimes. The Grayzone site downplays or denies human rights violations by the Chinese government against the Uighurs and publishes conspiracy theories about Venezuela, Xinjiang, Syria, and other regions.
Source: The Gaze