Peter Thiel is many things on the record. He’s a renowned Donald Trump supporter, funder of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape case that killed Gawker, co-founder of PayPal and ultra-libertarian. According to someone who knew him at university there’s another dubious accolade to add to the list: Thiel now stands accused of being an apartheid apologist.

The allegations have been made by Julie Lythcott-Haims, an author, lawyer, former Dean at Stanford University and TED speaker. She made the claim yesterday on Facebook and repeated them again in a blog post last night.

The author says that her and Thiel were dorm mates at Stanford University in their freshman year and that one day she had heard a rumour that Thiel defended Apartheid.

“I wanted to give Peter the benefit of the doubt,” Lythcott-Haims writes. “So I mustered the courage to go to his room to ask him about it. He said, with no facial affect, that apartheid was a sound economic system working efficiently, and moral issues were irrelevant.”

Lythcott-Haims says that much of the detail of the encounter has been lost to memory (it happened in the 1985-1986 school year) but she can say for sure that it did happen.

The author posted the details of this encounter to Facebook on the 1st November and it quickly went viral. A spokesperson for Thiel responded to the allegations saying that “Peter has no recollection of a stranger demanding his views on apartheid. He has never supported it, but he can easily see how a conversation might be misremembered 30 years later.”

But Lythcott-Haims is adamant that the encounter did take place and that other people in the 165 person strong dorm would have heard it as well.

Indeed, a few hours ago Megan Maxwell emailed Forbes’ Ryan Mac detailing a similar encounter with Thiel.

Lythcott-Haims says that the reason she posted these allegations to the web is to invite inquiry into these allegations and to determine whether Thiel still holds this opinion. “If Peter, one of Trump’s most major financial supporters and a hugely influential person, still holds views about some swath of humans being trodden upon for the good of the whole, then I think we all ought to be interested in knowing more about that. And wee ought to ask Trump about it too,” she concludes.

The one thing we know for sure is that Thiel holds a grudge and isn’t afraid to sue (he backed the Hogan case against Gawker because the US website outed him as gay a decade ago). What happens next could be very interesting…

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Heisenberg Media]