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Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly

Posted: May 11, 2010 04:01 AM

Fact Check: The 5 Craziest Rumors About Meg Whitman

What's Your Reaction:

A lot of crazy things have been said in the race for the Republican nomination for Governor of California. Rumors that one candidate or the other is secretly a liberal, or an environmentalist. Whispers that Meg Whitman wants to cancel a tax only the super wealthy pay and cost the state billions. Insinuations that Steve Poizner is less than five feet tall.

(Actually, the one about Whitman eliminating the tax on stock market speculation is true. But what's wrong with bright people making money?)

But the craziest rumors -- the ones I won't even touch -- are the ones about Meg Whitman being some sort of "atheist" or "cultist" or "practicing Wiccan" or whatever her people call it. One: It's none of our business. Freedom of religion is a fundamental American right. Two: I can't see what difference her personal life makes to how she'd govern and Three: The evidence people keep citing is laughably circumstantial.

Four: I think these rumors are being spread by people who simply can't accept that someone - particularly a woman -- can rise from nothing and make a billion dollars, just because it's unclear what she does. I think it's sad, actually. And that's why it's worth shooting down these baseless slanders once and for all.

MYTH: Meg Whitman Worships the Devil

Yes, Meg Whitman joined Proctor & Gamble as a brand manager, left as a vice president, and returned to take a seat on the board of directors. But the stories about Proctor & Gamble being run by Satanists are so ludicrous that you're legally not allowed to repeat them. Really. You aren't. They'll sue you. P&G is one of the best companies in America and probably the only Fortune 500 company that has an FAQ on its corporate homepage where it specifically denies that its management worships the devil. Case closed.

MYTH: Meg Whitman Has Made a Lot of Money Selling Satanist Paraphernalia

This depends on what you mean by "a lot."

There's no getting around the fact that Meg Whitman ran eBay and eBay sells a lot of Satanist paraphernalia. I mean, a lot. I mean, seriously, dude, how many goblets do you need? How many daggers before you're just showing off? How much blood does a goat have?

But so what? eBay sells a lot of pornography too. That doesn't prove a thing. Meg Whitman took over a million dollars in bribes from Goldman Sachs, but as she explained in her autobiography, it wasn't really a big deal because it was "a very small fraction of my investment portfolio." You have to remember that Meg Whitman has a billion dollars. That's a thousand million. So any money she made from selling coven supplies (or bondage pornography) is a tiny, tiny slice of the whole pie.

MYTH: Meg Whitman Wants to Get Religion Out of Marriage

This one is a simple misunderstanding, I think. And even if her position on gay marriage is a tangled mess, there has to be a simpler explanation than any crazy talk about hating religion. Yes, she has said:

"You know, I just wish we could have one term for everything: civil unions."

And that sounds like she doesn't think God should be involved, but who knows. It could mean anything. And depending on whom she's talking to, it has.

It's like her position that gay marriage should be illegal, except for the ones that have already happened, or that gay couples should be allowed to adopt but not marry. It's all a mishmash. But to hint that she thinks being "married in the eyes of God" is a stupid formality is a real stretch.

I think.

I mean, it's so hard to keep track.

MYTH: Meg Whitman Never Voted or Joined a Political Party Because She Refuses to Take an Oath That Includes the Words "I Swear to God."

That's just wrong. You don't have to take an oath to vote or join a party. Meg Whitman didn't do either of those things until she was in her fifties, but that's only because she was so very busy.

MYTH: Meg Whitman Makes Money When Your Children Play Ouija

Here's how I think this one started: Meg Whitman was a general manager at Hasbro Inc. in the mid-nineties. Hasbro makes many, many toys that you know and love. They also make the Ouija board, which some Christians, especially the older ones who take it at least semi-seriously, know and don't love. Earlier this year, some Christian groups started an online boycott of Hasbro, to get them to stop making Ouija, and especially the new special edition pink Ouija for Girls.

That's their right, of course. And their website is certainly sincere. But I think they're making something out of next to nothing. For every story they list, about evil spirits driving children insane, there are probably hundreds of thousands of other children who turned out just fine. They either didn't contact spirits at all or when they did, the spirits just told them which boys liked them.

You can't pin this one on Meg.

Hasbro was making the Ouija board when she was there, but that wasn't her department. Her work mostly involved managing Hasbro's factories in China. Where the children had hardly any playtime at all.

I don't see what it has to do with being a good governor. I think owning a Ouija board is a personal decision. If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you really like it, you can get some very cool accessories for it at eBay, like this Evil Baphomet Goat Head Satanic Nemesis.

Some of the purchase price will go to Meg Whitman, but that doesn't mean a thing.

As I'm sure she'd tell you, she has so much other money already.