Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Inside RFK Jr. VP pick Nicole Shanahan’s conspiratorial beliefs

By 37ci3 May24,2024


Bigtree listed Shanahan’s tech background — he founded and sold a patent analytics software startup — and his current occupation as a funder and investor in medical and scientific research as other assets. Not mentioned: his personal wealth (reports over $1 billion), he generously donated $10 million to Kennedy’s campaign since March, and an additional $4 million to the Kennedy PAC for Super Bowl advertising. Not mentioned was the one trait the campaign repeatedly invoked that led her to Kennedy: being a mother to an autistic child.

The Kennedy campaign declined multiple requests to interview Shanahan, and he has yet to make any major media appearances or print interviews. Instead, he launched a podcast and branched out into mainstream programming. In these conversations, she relies on her identity as a mother.

But when asked if Shanahan was helping Kennedy with the “autism warrior moms” voting bloc, Bigtree demurred.

“Why do we need any help with this group?”


Shanahan describes his life as the “American Dream.” He grew up poor in Oakland, California. His mother, an immigrant from Guangzhou, China, worked low-wage jobs, and his father, a white American, struggled with manic depression and addiction. He ran away to his grandparents’ house during the summers and eventually went to college in Tacoma, Washington. In 2013, while attending law school at Santa Clara University, he founded ClearAccessIP, a patent management technology company.

In 2014, she met Brin at a yoga festival in Lake Tahoe. After a short while marriage To the Bay Area investor, Shanahan along with recently divorced Brin. They were planning a future family when Shanahan, then nearly 30, was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, ending their first attempt at freezing embryos. “After three failed embryo creation attempts and three dozen visits to IVF clinics around the Bay Area, I learned that I’m not as indomitable as I thought.” then he said.

When Shanahan became pregnant with her daughter Echo naturally (she loans acupuncture, “cleanses the liver,” more sleep and “letting go”) he took personal experience as evidence that the medical prescriptions he received were motivated by financial gain rather than science.

Armed with Bree’s money, Shanahan started pouring millions of dollars research on the extension of female reproduction – an increase longevity movement it had already impressed Silicon Valley financiers. Where the for-profit IVF industry stifled knowledge, she would fund research into better diagnoses and natural treatments for infertility through her new nonprofit, the Bia-Echo Foundation.

“His experience led to” a feature explained in The New Yorker.

Sergey Brin puts his hand on Nicole Shanahan's belly during her pregnancy.
Nicole Shanahan married Google co-founder Sergey Brin in 2018 while she was pregnant with their daughter Echo. They divorced in 2023. Taylor Hill/Getty Images file

In April 2020, he found another one. As Shanahan describes it in podcasts and campaign videos, Echo was born “healthy” but began to “slowly fade,” less attractive and less talkative. As Covid raged around the world, Shanahan examined her daughter over Zoom and was diagnosed with autism. When talk therapy became frustrating for Echo and didn’t produce the results Shanahan had hoped for, Shanahan began to question everything. Perhaps Shanahan thought Eco’s autism was similar to his fertility—diagnosed by doctors and treated by specialists, who were ultimately wrong.

“Do your own research” was a common refrain in the early Web 2.0 anti-vaccine community before outsiders used it as a joke aimed at conspiracy theorists. For Shanahan, it became a mission. He found a community of parents with autistic children, elite Silicon Valley moms and dads, who didn’t accept the medical consensus that autism was largely genetic and lived with but not fixed. Shanahan spent more than half of his time reading autism publications and articles, listening to podcasts, and calling researchers who caught his eye.



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By 37ci3

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