Silicon Valley's online woman of mystery has had her cover blown. Shirley Hornstein (@Shirls on Twitter) spent that past year touting her connections to various startup friendly celebs as well as Sean Parker and his San Francisco-based VC firm Founders Fund. But, as TechCrunch reports today—in an exposé that should prove thoroughly mortifying to Hornstein—few of her claims hold water.
The first Horstein sham TC points out is the blatant Photoshopping she has done to insert her own image into celebrity photos, so as to look as if she's best pals with Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake.
Not the most egregious offense, but certainly embarrassing when exposed for what it is. (At left is a side by side of Hornstein's Andy Samberg photo shop and the original photo in which the SNL alum appears with Rashida Jones—who, for what it's worth, Hornstein follows, retweets, and tweets at directly.)
"When I first met her more than a year ago," writes Anthony Ha for TechCrunch, "she kept talking about her connections to Sean Parker and Founders Fund... Looks like I wasn't the only one she convinced. In fact, Founders Fund took legal action to stop her from claiming that she worked for them." (Emphasis added.)
The complaint reads, in part:
Beginning no later than July of 2011. Ms. Hornstein engaged in a pattern of conduct, which includes making false and misleading written and oral representations, designed to deceive potential business partners and employers into believing that she had prior and/or ongoing business and employment connections to Founders Fund and its partners. In fact, Ms. Hornstein is not now, nor has she ever been, an employee or business partner of Founders Fund or any Founders Fund Partner or executive.
Ha is careful to state that this is more than just a smear campaign designed to embarrass Hornstein and call her out on her version of the truth bloviated past bounds of reality. It is also a warning issued to any other (potential) Silicon Valley victims of what several of his sources described as Ms. Hornstein's "web of lies."