Breaking: Billionaire Douchebag is a douchebag.

New Government Documents Show the Sean Parker Wedding Is the Perfect Parable for Silicon Valley Excess

Hey, if a billionaire couple wants to spend $10 million on their wedding, it's neither all that surprising nor interesting, as far as I'm concerned. So, when news and statistics started to trickle out about Sean Parker's wedding here in California -- namely that it'd cost millions of dollars to create Kardashian-level over-the-topness -- I was ready to chalk it up to the standard excesses of crazy rich people.

But that was before I read the California Coastal Commission's report on the Parker wedding's destructive, unpermitted buildout in a redwood grove in Big Sur. Parker and Neraida, the LLC he created to run his wedding, ended up paying $2.5 million in penalties for ignoring regulations. (Move fast. Break things.)


I'm not a purist: Landscapes can get more beautiful with human intervention sometimes. Most landscapes we know have already been immeasurably altered by human behavior over the centuries. What's rough about this particular situation is how wantonly Parker steamrolled structures, human and not human, legal and aesthetic.

To his credit, Parker paid up for the damage and said in a statement that he and his wife "always dreamed of getting married in Big Sur, one of the most magical places on Earth." And weddings are great and I'm sure it was a good party.

But, of course, that's also part of the new Silicon Valley parable: dream big, privatize the previously public, pay no attention to the rules, build recklessly, enjoy shamelessly, invoke magic, and then pay everybody off.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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12 Responses:

  1. Jesper says:

    Is linking to his own retort, where many of the figures are disputed, allowed? The one that's linked at the top of the article?

    • neural says:

      it's nice he can love nature and wilderness so much that he can damage (deflower?) it for his convenience. does he not get that we liked it undamaged, and natural too?

      • Jesper says:

        If you pitch a tent in the woods and remove it, have you damaged the woods? Or is it that he pitched a gaudy tent in the woods, was that the deflowering part?

        If he didn't pick up after himself, that's wrong, no matter how much or how little he spent on it. But if he did...

        • nooj says:

          You're an idiot. Read the fucking article. He didn't "pitch a tent."

          How about I drive a truck through your house and have a party for a weekend. When I leave, I promise I'll put everything back exactly the way I found it.

    • nooj says:

      That retort reads like, "The hotel was the billionaire douchebag, not me! I just decided that I'm rich enough to realize my dream wedding, so I should be able to do it."

      The fact that the area was already being raped and pillaged (ie, cleared but not available for public use) does not exonerate anyone's behavior. And that he formed an LLC to protect himself from tax liability--business expenses are tax-deductible!--is also a douchebag move. The IRS on Deducting Business Expenses:

      Business expenses are the cost of carrying on a trade or business. These expenses are usually deductible if the business is operated to make a profit.

      What Can I Deduct?
      To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.

      So he (probably) did all this self-appointed conservation work as part of the wedding, deducted the shit out of it and reduced his tax burden by like $1.3M that year (30% of the $4.5M he spent on his wedding).

      And if he didn't he's an idiot, because US tax code is specifically written to encourage people to form companies in their quests to rape and pillage the earth.

  2. In his followup letter, Parker says the money his LLC paid out wasn't a fine so much as a charitable donation at the behest of the government, which totally isn't like a fine. Seriously, dude. We're all buds, bro.

  3. bode says:

    I thought his response was totally reasonable. You really can't apply for permits on land you don't own, so WTF. He rented private land and the landlord is on the hook.

    That said, he's still a billionaire douchebag. So he deserves whatever ridicule comes his way.

    • dolface says:

      His description:

      Everything we did was an homage to nature, to the natural redwood environment which I call "God's cathedral." We wanted the forest to speak for itself, but we had to build the basic minimum features to make the campground safe and viable for a wedding.

      is quite different than the Coastal Commissions:

      multiple structures including a gateway and arch, an artificial pond, a stone bridge, multiple event platforms with elevated floors, rock walls, artificially created “ruins” of cottage and castle walls, multiple rock stairways, and a dance floor.

      He can write all he wants about conserving the site (and there are plenty of valid arguments to made about what conservation of previously disturbed land really means), and minimal impact and harmony with nature, but his defense reads at best as weasel-wording, and at worst as seriously oblivious douche-baggery.

      • Jesper says:

        Sounds to me that while it may not have been widely regarded as tasteful or subtle, he was trying not to be reckless about how it was implemented. I'll take that nuance and I will add it to the file, right under where it says "The kind of guy who is ably portrayed by Justin Timberlake basically acting like himself". Then I'll get on with my life, knowing a little more about someone than just the d-word.

      • Alex says:

        artificially created “ruins” of cottage and castle walls

        Marie-Antoinette, your tumbril is waiting.

  4. But it's a GAME OF THRONES themed wedding!

  5. "Hey, babe. Let's do a Red Wedding themed ceremony!"
    "What's that mean?"
    "Don't worry about it. I'll handle the details."

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