Powerful people in tech and Hollywood who have supported Kamala Harris – Business Insider

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Joe Biden's VP pick Kamala Harris has held prominent roles in California politics since 2004. Here are the tech moguls and A-list Hollywood bigwigs who have supported her over the years.

Powerful people in tech and Hollywood who have supported Kamala Harris – Business Insider

Kamala Harris has enjoyed the support of San Francisco’s Getty family and Silicon Valley power players like Sheryl Sandberg and Marc Benioff.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

  • On August 11, Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his choice for vice president on his 2020 ticket.
  • Harris, a Democratic senator for California, has also held positions as district attorney for San Francisco and attorney general for the state. She has homes in both LA and San Francisco.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigned for Harris in Iowa in December 2019.
  • Forbes reported that an overwhelming majority of her 2019 donors came from California and she unsurprisingly has a fan base in the two power centers of the state — Hollywood and Silicon Valley.
  • In 2019, The Hollywood Reporter noted that almost half of the entertainment industry’s key players in its THR 100 list had made donations to Harris’ campaign in its early stages.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Representatives for Kamala Harris didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. 

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Kamala Harris have known each other for 30 years.

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Marc Benioff is the CEO of Salesforce.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When Harris ran for reelection as California’s attorney general in 2014, Benioff cohosted a fundraiser for her campaign, according to a tweet from Recode’s Teddy Schleifer.

“Kamala is one of the highest-integrity people I’ve ever met and is a phenomenal prosecutor,” Benioff told Recode in February 2019. “She is truly an impressive leader with a strong legal and public service background.”

However, Benioff is unlikely to publicly support the Harris-Biden ticket in the run-up to the 2020 election: earlier this year, he told Recode that since buying Time Magazine, he will “no longer make political positions or funding.”

Harris attended Facebook cofounder Sean Parker’s wedding in 2013.

Sean Parker



Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Harris and Facebook billionaire Sean Parker appear to be longtime friends. When Parker got married in a lavish California ceremony in 2013, Harris was in attendance. 

Parker has donated to Harris’ campaigns in the past, cohosting her attorney general reelection fundraiser in 2014 and contributing to her senatorial run in 2015. 

In late 2019, Parker was slated to host a fundraiser for Harris’ presidential campaign at his home in Los Angeles, which was canceled when Harris suspended her campaign in December.

Laurene Powell Jobs has already voiced her support for Harris as Biden’s vice presidential pick.

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Laurene Powell Jobs speaks onstage at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 29th Annual International Press Freedom Awards on November 21, 2019 in New York City.

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Shortly after news broke that Biden had selected Harris as his running mate, Jobs, the founder of Emerson Collective and widow of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, tweeted her support.

“Joe Biden you made a great choice!” she wrote.

Jobs has been a supporter of Harris since at least 2014, and donated to her Senate campaign in 2015. When Jobs was interviewed by journalist Kara Swisher at Recode’s Code Conference in 2017, she brought Harris along because she thought “you would find it more interesting,” as Recode’s Teddy Schleifer noted

And in 2018, Jobs interviewed Harris at the Aspen Ideas Festival, where they discussed President Donald Trump and Harris’ views on a lack of bipartisanship in congress. 

Jobs also donated to Harris’ campaign for president before Harris left the race last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

 

A slew of other Silicon Valley bigwigs have supported Harris in the past.

Brian Chesky Airbnb

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images

Many notable tech CEOs and investors have raised money for Harris in the past, though not all have publicly endorsed the Harris/Biden ticket yet:

  • Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and her husband, Zach Bogue, cohosted a fundraiser for Harris’ reelection campaign for attorney general in 2014. Mayer also donated to Harris’ Senate campaign in 2015, according to VentureBeat.
  • Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr and his wife, Khan Academy Chairman Ann Doerr, also cohosted the fundraiser and donated to Harris in 2015, as did SV Angels founder Ron Conway. John Doerr also contributed to her presidential campaign, according to Recode
  • Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has been a Harris donor in the past, both when she served as attorney general and when she ran for Senate. 
  • Former Apple design chief Jony Ive supported Harris’ bid for reelection as attorney general.
  • Former eBay CEO and current Nike CEO John Donahoe contributed to Harris’ Senate campaign in 2015.
  • David Drummond, Google’s former chief legal officer, donated to Harris in 2015.
  • LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman raised money for Harris’ presidential bid, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Twitter board member Omid Kordestani and his wife, Gisel, both contributed the maximum individual amount of Harris’ presidential campaign, according to the Journal. 
  • Zynga founder Marc Pincus is a longtime supporter, hosting a fundraiser for her Senate campaign in 2016, the Journal reports. 

JJ Abrams, a filmmaker best known for his involvement with the recent “Star Wars” trilogy, called her “the real deal” and “a powerhouse” in a 2013 Vanity Fair article.

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Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney, composite by Kirsten Acuna/Insider

Abrams has written for Vanity Fair that he and his wife, Katie McGrath, first met Harris when she was the district attorney of San Francisco and they became friends. 

“What struck me upon hearing her speak was that we had stumbled upon the most unusual of creatures: an authentically inspiring human being who happened to be in politics,” he said. 

Abrams and McGrath hosted a fundraiser for Harris at their home in March 2019. Shonda Rhimes was a co-chair. Each co-chair donated $10,000 and the tickets were priced at $2,800, which is the primary election maximum.

Harris once called Universal Pictures Chairwoman Donna Langley “an advocate for vital voices” at a 2014 Vanity Fair event.

Donna Langley

Kamala (L) and Langley (R)

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Variety

At Vanity Fair’s Power of Women event, Harris introduced Donna Langley on stage with praise for her advocacy work and her successful career as a studio executive. 

After Biden announced his pick, Langley told Variety, “Kamala demonstrates a level of passion, grace and grit, that separated her from the pack. I’ve always believed in her leadership and she is the right VP candidate to face the challenges our country has ahead of us.”

Vanity Fair reported that Langley has supported Harris since around the time of her bid for attorney general in 2010. 

Other top NBC executives such as Jeffrey Katzenberg and Jeff Shell have put their support behind Harris.

The LA Times reported that Katzenberg, the former DreamWorks Animation top dog, donated $2,800 to Harris’ presidential campaign in 2o19. He also donated to her competition in the initially crowded field of contenders for the Democratic nomination. 

Shell, the CEO of NBCUniversal, opened the doors to his Beverly Hills home for a Harris fundraiser in February 2019. The guest list included Katzenberg, Eva Longoria, and Scooter Braun.

Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal, contributed $2,800.

Harris has been an associate of the Getty family for several decades, even attending the wedding of Billy, George and Ann Getty’s son, in 1999.

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Vanessa Getty and Bill Getty.

Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

According to a 2019 Politico story, Harris had Sunday dinners with the Getty family, heirs to one of America’s great oil fortunes, from early on in her political career in the late 1990s, when she was deputy district attorney for Alameda County.

The same story reported that Harris was seen at social events at the time with Gavin Newsom, who was then a city supervisor and is now the governor of the state. It has been widely reported that Newsom was a friend and business partner of the Gettys. (The Los Angeles Times reported in 2018 that eight prominent and wealthy San Francisco families supported Newsom’s political career, including the Gettys.)

George and Ann Getty contributed to Harris’ presidential campaign.

However, as Forbes reported, in keeping with the Biden campaign’s promise to not receive any donations from executives with ties with the oil industry, it’s unlikely that a Biden-Harris ticket will see any future contributions from the Getty family.

Harris has enjoyed support from other Hollywood A-listers stretching all the way back to her bid for district attorney in 2004.

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Spike Lee

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Spike Lee hosted a sold-out fundraiser for Harris’ presidential campaign at his house in Massachusetts and the tickets were priced between $100 and $2,800.

David Robb reported for Deadline that before Biden entered the presidential race, Harris was the clear favorite among the Hollywood set as A-listers such as including George Lucas, Chris Rock, and Shonda Rhimes were some of those who contributed the maximum amount allowed in a primary election, $2,800. 

“This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman gave Harris’ campaign $5,600, split between the primary and the general election. Harris also got upwards of $5,000 from Eva Longoria and Elizabeth Banks. 

Other key players in Hollywood have supported Harris in past election efforts.

For instance, actor Jamie Foxx, supermodel and TV host Tyra Banks, and filmmakers Aaron Sorkin and Steven Spielberg supported Harris’ bid for attorney general in 2010, Gene Maddaus reported for Variety

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