Motherboard: "Soylent Founder's Unhinged Politics Rant Shows Tech Execs Don't Understand the World"

“I am so sick of politics. Politics are suddenly everywhere. I cannot avoid them.” Another 5,300 words follow these declarations, written by Soylent co-founder, former CEO, and current chairman Rob Rhinehart in a blog to explain why he is voting for Kanye West in the 2020 general election.

The blog, which starts somewhat normal and becomes increasingly bizarre, is rife with conspiracy theories. At one point, he seemingly invents a conspiracy theory about former Vice President Joe Biden, who he professes at one point to have “never heard of until very recently.”

“Did you know Biden threw innocent Guatemalans in jail because they did not give a government contract to his company Hunter Medical Devices?” he asks, with no hyperlinks or evidence. A Google search for “Hunter Medical Devices” turns up just three pages of results with no relevant hits aside from Rhinehart’s own blog.

In the blog, Rhinehart describes both candidates as “serpentine robots feeding the evil octopus of the New York Times," and says Nancy Pelosi’s son is addicted to drugs. That claim about Paul Pelosi Jr., which would not be shameful even if it were true, is a debunked conspiracy theory, according to Politifact.

All this falls away when he begins to talk about Kanye West. Here is “the only candidate” who cares about agriculture, an issue of utmost importance to Rhinehart. He’s drawn to Kanye because “believes in protecting life and the environment” as well as “bringing prayer back to schools.” After saying he believes in the power of prayer, Rhinehart declares in a direct missive to Kanye West that he’s “now my political leader” and as such “I will follow your leadership, and your example.”

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Not shocking that such idiocy would come from someone with such bad judgement they’d make the new inedible «all natural» Original drink

Rhinehart sounds like a “very stable genius.” I can’t figure out whether he’s disingenuously spreading disinformation for personal gain, or whether he’s actually this ignorant and/or unwell.

Please tell me he is no longer associated with Soylent in any way?

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The new Soylent Original is “all natural”?

This is very disappointing. I really enjoyed Rob’s early blog posts focused on wacky futurism and nerding out over nutrition science. Even the ones about his almost eco-fascist approach to personal water use were weird but enjoyable. But lashing out at NYT as a conspiratory organization is… questionable. It’s like he just read Manufacturing Consent and his takeaway is less that they’re complicit and more that they have a literal consent manufacturing facility. With eight arms. And Joe Biden isn’t real.

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Looks like he’s no longer on the board

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The blog post says Rob is still on the Board; he’s just stepped down as Chairman.

I think the sadness of Rhinehart’s current mental state should not distract from the fact that he was instrumental in creating a needed healthy food product. His step down (removal?) from the board chair is Sufficient reassurance to me that the company is on track and will continue to produce, refine and provide safe food. Kudos to Demir Vangelov and the board for their quick action and transparency in addressing this stressful incident. In the meantime, I hope Rob seeks out and gets the help he needs.

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I read some of the vice.com article and it made it sound like Rhinehart was crazy. Then I went and read the actual blog and so that it was greatly exaggerated. The fact that vice.com writes that article without actually linking to what they’re talking about shows you they want to use Rhinehart’s name for their own purposes rather than to tell you want Rhinehart actually said.

If you want to have an opinion of what someone else said then read what they said and form your own opinion. I hadn’t been to Rhinehart’s blog for a long time and the last I recall he was rarely posting but apparently that’s changed because he has several posts in the last month alone. Of the few I’ve read, I like reading them. I disagree with some of what he says, agree with others, and I’m not even sure whether he’s serious sometimes. I get the impression he has a very dry sense of humor and may be saying some things out of jest.

But whatever, I like reading it and I like Rhinehart’s writing style and I don’t like reading pieces like the one Vice did and which are all over they media.

Also, I think that some of what Rhineart said, specifically the part about people being sick of politics, is true for a lot of people and they’re also sick of being told how they’re supposed to think, as in Vice tells you you’re supposed to think Rhinehart is a nut and you’re a bad guy if you’re not. People have had enough and they’re checking out of the mainstream stuff, which Vice wasn’t a part of when it started but is becoming so now.

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Rhinehart has posted on his blog to clarify the Hunter Medical Devices thing. It turns out it was Baxter Medical Devices. He linked to an article in a Mexican newspaper detailing it. Someone he had just had dinner with for business reasons, an American who lived in Guatemala at the time, told him about it originally.

One mistake from rob doesnt mean he is crazy.

Also, I hope we get rob back as in charge of soylent. Soylent was very good under him. Now it has changed for the worse.

If it aint ain’t broken…dont fix it.

Sounds like a highly questionable and probably completely baseless conspiracy theory. From what I can tell, this is an offshoot or cousin of the conspiracy theory about Biden and Ukraine, since they are essentially the same narrative and the same dubious sources promote both theories.

I do wonder if Rob is having mental health struggles or if maybe he was simply ensnared by the psychological trap of conspiracy theory land (it could, of course, be a combination or interaction of both). Whatever the case, I wish him well and hope his break from reality ends, sooner or later.

For heaven’s sake, I hope the guy is not starting to come unglued. He has done some great things, hasn’t he? We all like his products. Let’s give him a little credit.

I think Adam D. has the right to post this criticism, but yngh makes some good points as well. Vice Media is not an unbiased source of information either. Honestly I don’t have the time right now to investigate this issue. It is not that interesting to me what with everything else that is going on right now.

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From a recent blog of his mentioned in the Vice article: “I wanted to write so badly but I was pushed underground. I filled up hundreds of notebooks with writing and kept them hidden, lest somebody find them. I do not know what I was afraid of but I felt its presence.”

Strikes me as tragically Howard Hughes-like behavior, I think the water consumption obsession was another warning sign. Someone makes it big time by bucking tradition and they try to extend that philosophy to every aspect of their lives, becoming unhinged from reality.