The Winklevoss brothers, together with Divya Narendra, co-founder of HarvardConnection, have released an official response to Larry Summers' "asshole" remark, which he directed at the Harvard alums because of their stiff formal attire when they met with him as undergraduates.
Earlier this week, during the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference on July 19th, Summers shed some light on the infamous scene depicted in The Social Network, in which Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are shown wearing matching suits and ties to meet with then-Harvard President Larry Summers. The twins met with Summers as undergraduates to argue that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social networking site. The Winklevoss twins have since repeatedly sued Facebook.
"One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o'clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they're looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an asshole. This was the latter case," Summers said during an interview at the Brainstorm Tech conference. Rarely, have I encountered such swagger, and I tried to respond in kind."
The Winklevoss brothers, who are currently training for the 2012 London Olympics, didn't take kindly to Summers' commentary. If there's anything we learned about the Winklevosses from their prolonged, drawn-out legal battle with Mark Zuckerberg, it's that they don't go down without a fight.
In a three-page open letter dated July 21, addressed to current Harvard President Drew Faust, the Winklevoss brothers and Narendra explain why they take issue with Summers' remarks:
It is deeply disturbing that a professor of this university openly admits to making character judgments based on their appearance. It goes without saying that every student should feel free to bring issues forward, dress how they see fit, or express themselves without fear of prejudice or public disparagement from a fellow member of the community, much less so from a faculty member," the alumni wrote.
Their letter also included a synopsis of their meeting with Summers in 2004, and one can't help but notice the similarities to the scene depicted in The Social Network. The background of their meeting with Summers continues on for the length of a page.
Then, in the last paragraph of the letter, the Winklevosses and Narendra state their request by saying, "As the current President, we respectfully ask for you to address this unprecedented betrayal of the unique relationship between teacher and student."
We're not sure what is expected of President Faust regarding this matter, but if the past is any indication, then perhaps the Winklevoss brothers should reconsider their course of action when requesting assistance from Harvard Presidents on personal matters.
You can read the entire letter written by the Winklevosses and Narendra, here.
In case you missed the video of Larry Summers calling the Winklevosses "asshole[s]", we've posted it below.