September 2022


A Florida high school teacher has been removed after video showed him berating a student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

A TikTok video of the incident had amassed more than 1.4 million views as of Saturday.

“You are gonna sit there on your butt?” the unnamed teacher at Bradenton High School angrily asked the student. “If you want to do something, just get up and do it … I will defend my country to the very end.”

The student responded, “I won’t hurt you.”

The teacher then told the student to “go back … where you are from. Mexico or Guatemala? Where?”

When the student said he was born in the United States, the teacher reacted in disbelief.

“You were born here? And you won’t stand up for the flag?”

A rep for Manatee County Schools told Insider that the teacher had been removed and an investigation was underway.

“The School District of Manatee County strongly condemns any language or behavior that degrades, humiliates or insults any individuals — most especially the young people, families and community we have the privilege of serving,” the district said in a statement.

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He lost his golden oppor-tuna-ty.

A professional angler is out nearly $200,000 in prize money from a Rhode Island fishing tournament because officials don’t believe his nearly 200-pound catch was above board, according to a lawsuit.

Edward Pollner, 58, and his captain, Rudolf Bonicelli, failed a lie-detector test administered by tourney officials.

The fishermen’s defense? They were too drunk to pass it.

Pollner says the test was unfair — and invalid — because he and his buddy were drinking like fish in celebration of the giant bigeye tuna they caught.

He is now suing competition host Tri-State Tournaments, claiming it was wrong to administer the polygraph so soon after they returned to dock. Rules allow seven days for a test to be administered. Such tests are given after fishing tournaments to ensure winners have followed all the rules.

“Both Mr. Pollner and Mr. Bonicelli had consumed alcohol provided by Tri-State at the post-tournament ceremony, and Mr. Bonicelli informed the polygraph examiner that he had not slept the night before,” Pollner said in court papers. “Despite the fact that their alcohol consumption and Mr. Bonicelli’s fatigue made them unsuitable examinees under widely accepted polygraph standards, Tri-State proceeded with the polygraphs.”

The winning fish being weighed before a gathered crowd.
The winning fish being weighed before a gathered crowd.

The fish tale began July 24, when the annual four-day Tri-state Canyon Shootout in the waters off Block Island kicked off.

Competitors battled to see who could catch the largest wahoo, mahi mahi or tuna. Bigeye tuna can grow to 500 pounds and eight feet long.

Pollner, of Miami, set off aboard his 46-foot Westmac, christened Ragnar and piloted by Montauk fisherman Bonicelli. On the final day of the competition, they claimed they snagged a fintastic catch: a 195.6-pound bigeye.

The whale of a fish was big enough for fourth place for the largest tuna in the competition and earned Pollner $199,880 in side bets overseen by Tri-State, known as calcuttas.

But instead of letting Bonicelli and Pollner take their polygraphs days later, competition organizers Kerry and Kyle Douton allegedly insisted the tests happen immediately, Pollner carped in legal papers.

Bonicelli was quizzed on whether he’d followed “tournament rules concerning” equipment, had witnessed or knew about any tournament infractions, and whether Ragnar broke any rules. The examiner claimed his responses “indicated deception,” according to the litigation.

Though Bonicelli and Pollner passed later lie-detector tests given by a polygraph examiner they’d hired, Tri-State rejected the results and has refused to release the winnings, according to the lawsuit.

A lawyer for Pollner declined comment. Tri-State did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

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The 2022 Milan Fashion Week brought all the classiest fashions, from the Versace runway to the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Paris Hilton, Emily Ratajkowski and several more made their grand entrances while modeling high-end brands. While they looked undeniably stunning, some stars didn’t quite make the cut under the best dressed list, and instead, appeared as some of the worst dressed. 

Paris, 41, strutted in a unique pink ensemble on Friday, September 23, at the Versace show. She rocked a hot pink veil and matching high heels and cuffs to complement her scoop neck mini dress. 

The following day, Kim, 41, stopped hearts when her silhouette was seen walking down the runway at the Dolce & Gabbana show on Saturday, September 24, alongside the two fashion designers themselves! The Kardashians star was seen in a simple but dazzling black spaghetti strap, floor-length gown, which sparkled under the spotlight. 

In the days prior to her epic runway moment, Kim teased her Instagram followers with fun promotional videos and photos of her embracing what appeared to be a true Marilyn Monroe-inspired look. 

“An appetizer before the show. #CiaoKim,” the Skims founder captioned a black and white video on Friday, September 23, featuring her sitting in the back of a car eating pizza and being photographed by a crowd of paparazzi. She had her platinum blonde hair curled into a shorter cut, reminiscent of the late Some Like It Hot actress.  

Emily, 31, also gave her fans a sneak peek into her Milan Fashion Week lewk, which was an all-black outfit. The brunette model donned a leather miniskirt, a matching Moto jacket, knee-high boots and a purse during the Versace show. 

“VERSACE MOTO MAMI tonight for my @versace family,” the mom captioned an Instagram video on Friday, September 23, of her posing for pictures in her edgy outfit. 

Emily gave off major single girl vibes as she confidently walked the Versace runway that day, as In Touch confirmed on September 9 that she filed for divorce from her estranged husband, Sebastian Bear-McClard. The two had split earlier in the summer, In Touch confirmed on July 18. 

Multiple insiders later told In Touch that Sebastian’s alleged infidelity ultimately led to their breakup. 

“[Sebastian] strayed on multiple occasions,” one source claimed on August 22, whereas a second source alleged that Sebastian was also unfaithful while Emily “was pregnant” with their 18-month-old son, Sylvester Apollo Bear. 

Scroll down to have a look at the best and worst dressed celebs from Milan Fashion Week. 

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Prince William was reportedly so concerned about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s unhappiness during their 2019 trip to South Africa, he asked to meet with his brother — but was turned down.

Harry rejected the offer because he was worried word of the sit-down would leak to the press, The Sun reported, citing an upcoming book about the royals by journalist Valentine Low.

William allegedly became alarmed after watching a bombshell ITV interview with Harry and Meghan while they were in South Africa.

William tried to set up a meeting after seeing that Harry and Meghan were “were in crisis,” according to the book, “Courtiers: the Hidden Power Behind the Crown,” by Low, a veteran Royals correspondent for The Times of London.

But when Harry found out that William’s private secretary would be made aware of the meeting, Harry bailed on the idea because he was afraid intel from the chat might be leaked to the press, according to the book.

Prince William was reportedly concerned after seeing Harry and Meghan's ITV interview during their trip.
Prince William was reportedly concerned after seeing Harry and Meghan’s ITV interview during their trip.
Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in South Africa.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in South Africa.

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New York City school kids are losing their minds over the zonked-out drug addicts and raving vagrants they encounter every day – and are flocking to therapists to find ways to cope with the stress, The Post has learned.

In neighborhoods such as Hell’s Kitchen “a lot” of kids are now in therapy, according to mom Katie Hamill, 43, whose 7-year-old daughter is being treated for anxiety.

“My daughter has seen everything from fornication, masturbation, defecation, urination, you name it, she has seen it. … consistently and constantly. She is in this constant state of panic,” said Hamill, who works in real estate.

The little girl gets upset when she sees “the dying people” — the junkies who look dead whom she thinks no one is helping, the mom said. And she sees far too much vile behavior from adults, including one addict trying to rip out his hair after getting high at a West 42nd Street playground.

“My kid asks me to move,” Hamill said. “We have considered leaving the city. It’s hard.”

The city funneled thousands of homeless people to Hell’s Kitchen to living in the area’s hotels after the pandemic started. The move led to high-profile crimes including the brutal March 2021 beating of a Filipino-American woman walking to church allegedly at the hands of convicted killer Brandon Elliot, 38, who was living at a nearby hotel.

A picture of a kids playing in a playground.
According to parents, in neighborhoods such as Hell’s Kitchen “a lot” of kids are now in therapy.
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Pos

In late August, police charged Nickolas O’Keefe, 33, a shelter resident, with two unprovoked stabbing attacks including one targeting an ER nurse who was knifed in the back.

Exacerbating the qualify-of-life decline is state bail reform, which has caused the release of scores of dangerous accused criminals, as well as the decriminalization of drug paraphernalia which prompted the NYPD to stop detaining junkies shooting up in public.

Major crimes in all three precincts that cover Hell’s Kitchen are up this year, with the surge nearing 60 percent in Midtown North and South. Robberies are up 57% in Midtown South and 20% in Midtown North. There have been 10 murders so far this year in the three precincts, double the number during the same period in 2021.

In Chelsea, mother Cindy Sanders, 47, said her daughter, who attends the city’s Professional Performing Arts High School, saw a therapist through a school program last year for a combination of concerns, including spiraling crime and the sudden proliferation of unhinged hobos.

“I think everything after COVID has added to the amount of stress on them. So it’s very unclear what exactly is causing the stress and anxiety,” Sanders said. “Since they just got back from COVID, the crime rate was higher, and the number of homeless on the streets was higher as well. All of it, I think, in combination created a lot of anxiety.”

A picture of a NYC mother dropping her children off to school.
NYC mother, Cindy Sanders, said her daughter saw a therapist through a school program last year for a combination of concerns, including spiraling crime.
Robert Miller

Sanders drives her daughters to the West 48th Street school to keep them safe from the legion of aggressive vagrants, but even that didn’t stop them from being harassed recently.

“A woman … started yelling at us in the car. My daughter was nervous about getting out of the car and crossing the street to go to school,” she said.

Christine Capolupo, 38, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, and her father, Alex Vado, called police Wednesday when they saw a vagrant asleep on a bench at the Ramon Aponte Playground on West 47th Street near Ninth Avenue.

“It’s terrible especially like this street, in this vicinity, it’s gotten so freaking bad,” Capolupo said. “It’s like in broad daylight you see them shooting up and crazy stuff. It wasn’t like that. It was pretty decent, the neighborhood. I don’t know what’s going on.”

The neighborhood’s current state of affairs is worse than the bad old days, said one lifelong resident and mom whose two daughters are also in therapy.

“My kid is like lunging and attached to me like she wants me to carry her and she is 8 years old. It’s not a way for anybody to live, especially kids,” said the stressed mama, who said her children don’t want to go outside.

A picture of a child playing on a playground.
A longtime Hell’s Kitchen resident’s mother, Christine Capolupo, and her father called the police when they saw a vagrant asleep on a bench at the Ramon Aponte Playground.
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Pos

The 43-year-old woman recalled, “a lot of acts of violence when grew I up here.”

“But it was murderers murdering each other. They weren’t attacking innocent people walking in the street – women, kids, elderly,” she said. “It felt safer then.”

Sara Pashmforoosh, 40, an architect, who lives in the East Village, said her 19-month-old son constantly sees people smoking crack on their building’s stoop but is unaware of what is happening.

“When he gets older, I’m like, how am I going to explain what they’re doing?” she said.

Therapists say the toxic combination of pandemic stress and daily doses of depravity is creating a veritable Generation Angst in the Big Apple.

“It’s a lot of change and having these people in the neighborhood — that’s a part of that change,” said Dr. Judith Fiona Joseph, a Manhattan psychiatrist who treats children from all over the city. “I do think it’s one of the stressful changes that the post-pandemic era has brought to the city.”

Joseph also noted that children are naturally more empathetic and that  “It can be stressful, especially with the sensitive children in my practice — they do voice concerns about seeing people suffering in the streets, people who are not getting treatment and they feel that they want to do something about it.”

Therapist Dawn Adjei Jackson agreed that the street mayhem “contributes to the already existing anxiety that’s running prevalent in the younger clients.”

Psychologist Taylor Chesney, director of the Feeling Good Institute on the Upper East Side, said the worsening street conditions take a toll on parents, too.

“Their environment and where they chose to raise their families is changing so It makes sense that they’re stressed about it,” Chesney said. “And so if they’re going to feel stressed about it, the kids are gonna feel stressed in that way.”

Some families are coping by picking up and leaving.

One study found that families with young kids led the flight from major US cities in the first two years of the pandemic. Manhattan saw a 9.5% decline in children under 5 since 2019. Total New York City public school enrollment has dropped by 73,000 since the start of the pandemic.

Justin McShane, 38, who works in finance and development, left Hell’s Kitchen for New Jersey in February after a rent increase and the surge in violence and drug use in the neighborhood.

A picture of a family inside a playground.
Alex Vado, 63 with his daughter Christine Capolupo, 38, and her daughters Chloe, 7, and Ava, 3 at a children’s playground in Hell’s Kitchen.
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Pos

“There’s almost like a blissful ignorance within the leadership. It starts with the mayor obviously and no one wants to prosecute anybody. So, you know, everyone feels like they can just run amok without any disincentives,” McShane said.

Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College, said the city is seeing the impact of moving away from enforcing quality-of-life concerns.

“Yes, the little things do matter, because the impact on other people — whether it’s crime, or in this case psychological — these things can be avoided,” Giacalone said. “There’s always a cost to something, whether it’s a cost in crime or a cost in therapy. This is what many of the reformers don’t understand.”

Kimyra Garel, 32, a chef, and partner Ernesto Santana, 34, a delivery driver, moved from the Big Apple to Newark last year with their twins, “just to get out of New York because it’s too much craziness.” 

The couple returned Friday and brought the boys, who are 8, to play at Washington Square Park, but kept them close.-

“Usually they run around. We don’t hold their hands. I have not let go of their hands. I’m so scared. You don’t know what’s going on now,” Garel said.

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A veteran Los Angeles police captain claims she was so distraught when co-workers shared a fake nude photo of her that she had to check herself into a hospital on Christmas Eve.

Greg Smith, a lawyer for LAPD Capt. Lillian L. Carranza, told jurors Thursday that when the 33-year department veteran learned about the circulated doctored photo, her blood pressure skyrocketed, landing her in a hospital bed on the holiday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Carranza alleges in a 2018 lawsuit that department brass knew the “deeply humiliating” naked image was being circulated within the force, along with disparaging comments about her, but never alerted her. The trial on her suit began this week, and she’s slated to testify Tuesday.

Carranza's blood pressure spiked after she learned about the fake nude photo circulating.
Carranza’s blood pressure spiked after she learned about the fake nude photo circulating.
Facebook; Twitter

LAPD Chief Michel Moore testified Thursday the image was intended to “ridicule, embarrass or harass or smear” Carranza. However, he said that after Carranza sued the department in late 2018 and asked him to notify the 13,000 members of the force the photo was a fake, he declined because doing so might create “a viral interest, human or otherwise” and a “potential for further embarrassment,” with others potentially seeking out the image.

Carranza said in recent court documents she believes parts of her face were Photoshopped onto the nude image, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I noted that the facial features of the woman in the picture bore a striking resemblance to me, although the photograph was not actually of me,” she said in a declaration. “In fact, I concluded that my own eye appears to have been Photoshopped into the picture.”

Carranza said she felt “hurt, abandoned and devalued by my superiors."
Carranza said she felt “hurt, abandoned and devalued by my superiors.”
AFP via Getty Images

She also said she felt “hurt, abandoned and devalued by my superiors … who took no steps to prevent known harm to me from occurring and who stood by and watched, encouraged or simply looked the other way as I was ridiculed, humiliated and degraded by fellow LAPD employees, despite my persistent pleas for help.”

Carranza, who now heads the agency’s Gangs and Narcotics division, also claims she was victimized in 2013 when a detective supervisor was captured on audio telling her that she was a “very cute little Hispanic lady” who had been “swapped around a bunch of times,” according to her lawsuit.

The incidents are part of a sexist culture within the department that subjects women to ongoing verbal harassment, Carranza maintains.

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A 2024 rematch between President Biden and former President Trump would be a virtual dead heat, according to a new poll from Emerson.

The survey published Friday found Biden with the support of 45% of potential voters, while Trump came in with 44%. A total of 6% would vote for someone else, and 5% are undecided — a potentially decisive bloc of voters.

The poll also found voters split down the middle on the recent FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago, with 33% saying it made them more likely to support Trump in 2024, while another 33% said it made them less likely. The remaining 34% of voters said the raid made no difference.

As the midterms approach, President Biden’s approval ratings remain underwater with 45% of voters approving his performance, and 49% disapproving. Still, the numbers are Biden’s highest from Emerson all year and have been steadily improving.

A generic 2022 midterm House ballot showed voters equally divided between Democrats and Republicans with 45% each — a steady improvement for Democrats despite record-high inflation.

A generic 2022 midterm House ballot showed voters equally divided between Democrats and Republicans with 45% each.
A generic 2022 midterm House ballot showed voters equally divided between Democrats and Republicans with 45% each.
Getty Images

“Biden’s increase in approval appears to be driven by women voters. Since July, women voters’ approval of the President has jumped 10 points, from 39% to 49%.” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College polling. “Women voters support the Democratic congressional candidate over the Republican candidate by 10 points, while men break for the Republican candidate by 12.”

The economy remains a prime concern, with 39% of voters saying it was one of their most important issues. That was followed by threats to democracy (15%), and abortion access (10%).

The national poll quizzed 1,368 very likely voters between Sept. 20-21.

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Ciao, Kim. Kim Kardashian turned heads as she strutted down the catwalk at the Dolce & Gabbana runway show during Milan Fashion Week on Saturday, September 24.

The Kardashians star, 41, slayed in a sparkling black spaghetti strap, floor-length dress as she made her grand entrance down the runway. Her silhouette was the first sighting before the lights revealed the stunning ensemble the designers chose for her. 

Kim Kardashian Stuns in Dolce & Gabbana Fashion Show: Photos
Antonio Calanni/AP/Shutterstock

This is not the first time the Keeping Up With the Kardashians alum has made an appearance on a high fashion runway, however. The reality star added model to her resumé this summer during Paris Fashion Week when she stepped onto the catwalk for the Balenciaga show.

Kim Kardashian Stuns in Dolce & Gabbana Fashion Show: Photos
Antonio Calanni/AP/Shutterstock

The reality TV queen wore a fitted black with attached gloves and a plunging neckline paired with the brand’s signature Falkon Pantaleggings. Kim completed the look with her then-blonde locks pulled back into a low bun with face-framing strands left loose. 

Fashion houses have seemingly been shying away from strictly using high fashion models for their runway shows as the Kardashians star was joined by singer Dua Lipa and actress Nicole Kidman during her July appearance in Paris. 

Kim Kardashian Stuns in Dolce & Gabbana Fashion Show: Photos
Antonio Calanni/AP/Shutterstock

Kim teased her Milan Fashion Week debut and exciting new collab in the days leading up to the show as she channeled her inner Marilyn Monroe with vintage-inspired black and white videos shared via Instagram. In the footage, the SKIMS founder can be seen stepping off her private jet and being handed white roses, as well as a clip of her in the back of a limo eating pizza.

“Ciao Milano,” her caption from September 21 read, with the hashtags, “Ciao Kim” and “Dolce Gabbana.” 

The SKNN founder’s friends and family received press kits ahead of her big moment with branded Italian-themed goodies including a tomato can with Kim’s face, a Dolce & Gabbana bandana, a white T-shirt with pictures of Kim eating gelato and pasta and a black clutch purse with a photobook inside. 

In addition to Kim walking in their fashion show, Dolce & Gabbana hosted oldest sister Kourtney Kardashian’s extravagant Italian nuptials to husband Travis Barker in May. 

The Poosh founder and her Blink-182 husband tied the knot for the third time at Villa Olivetta, the fashion houses Portofino, Italy, estate while donning head to toe Dolce & Gabbana. The bride wore a white corset style mini gown with a cathedral length veil that had the Virgin Mary embroidered on it – similar to a tattoo Travis has on the top of his head – while the groom rocked a class black tuxedo. 

The couple’s family members were also decked out in D&G ensembles throughout the three-day celebration. 

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When civilization collapses, J.C. Cole will be ready. 

He’s founded Safe Haven Farms, a maximum security compound to ride out the next pandemic or climate-change disaster. And those who can afford to join him will also have a shot at survival, he promises. But the price tag isn’t cheap.

A $3 million investment in his startup isn’t just about getting admission. Members “also get a stake in a potentially profitable network of local farm franchises that could reduce the probability of a catastrophic event in the first place,” writes Douglas Rushkoff in his new book, “Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires” (W.W. Norton).

Cole, 66, has two farms in development, one outside Princeton and the second somewhere in the Poconos, which he envisions as “a network of secret, totally self-sufficient residential farm communities for millionaires, guarded by Navy SEALs armed to the teeth,” writes Rushkoff.

Larry Page
Google co-founder Larry Page gained New Zealand residency in 2021. The country has become an escape hotspot for those looking to plan ahead in the event of disaster.

The developer, who says he’s not independently wealthy but “did well in real estate,” won’t share the exact locations of either farm, at least not to outsiders, nor will he pose for photos — as his concerns about security and the end of the world rides high.

“The majority of Americans do not have an insurance policy by their choice,” Cole told The Post. “If/when the supply chain collapses, these people will not have food. A certain percentage of them will break the law and do whatever possible to get food. Therefore we want to remain ‘not findable.’ ”

underground bunker
This underground bunker offers all the amenities of a 5-star hotel, and is made by Oppidum, a supplier of fortified underground residences.
Courtesy of Oppidum/Mega

Cole is far from alone. The world’s richest are increasingly “insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion,” writes Rushkoff.

And while many billionaires have claimed that their interests are in saving the world—sometimes they even get into pissing matches on social media about who is more benevolent — Rushkoff argues that the ultimate goal of the super-rich is to protect themselves.

underground bunker
An Oppidum bunker designed by French architect Marc Prigent.
Courtesy of Oppidum/Mega

For the wealthy and privileged, writes Rushkoff, the future of technology is about “only one thing: escape from the rest of us.”

And they’re escaping in style. Texas-based Rising S Company sells luxury bunkers that run up to $9.6 million for the “Aristocrat” model — which comes with a private bowling alley, swimming pool, “bullet-resistant” doors and a “motor cave exit,” so you can sneak out for errands like Batman. 

Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel reportedly made a deal with entrepreneur Sam Altman to escape via private jet to Thiel’s New Zealand compound at the first sign of societal collapse.
Getty Images

California-based company Vivos sells luxury underground apartments, converted from Cold War missile silos and storage facilities into “miniature Club Med resorts,” writes Rushkoff.

Ultra-elite shelters like The Oppidum in the Czech Republic—billed as “the largest billionaire bunker in the world”—include amenities like simulated natural sunlight, a wine vault, and a place to hide all your stuff that’s “impregnable” to hostile outsiders. 

Oppidum hideaway in Czech Republic
The Oppidum hideaway in the Czech Republic has it all, including huge garages where residents can store their luxury vehicles.
Courtesy of Oppidum/Mega

“You’ve worked hard over many years, taken risks, seized opportunities, made your vision a reality,” the company’s website tells its billionaire customers. “Your reward is the means to acquire and curate all the beautiful, rare and precious objects you desire.”

Luxury yachts large enough to be a billionaire Noah’s Ark are seeing huge surges in sales— 887 superyachts were sold globally in 2021, a 77% increase from the previous year — and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, 58, even commissioned a smaller companion yacht for his main superyacht, as a separate space to store his helicopter.

Jeff Bezos commissioned a smaller companion yacht to his main super yacht, as a place to store his helicopter.
Image Press/BACKGRID

New Zealand has become a prime destination for billionaires seeking doomsday refuge, from Google co-founder Larry Page, 49, to Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman, 37, who let it slip in a 2016 interview that he and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel had a mutual agreement to escape to Thiel’s New Zealand compound via private jet at the first sign of society’s collapse. (Thiel’s owned the property since 2011 but hadn’t made the news public.)

But the billionaire bunker, whether on land, sea or someday (ostensibly) on another planet entirely, is at best a temporary fix, “less a viable strategy for apocalypse than a metaphor for this disconnected approach to life,” writes Rushkoff. “Like a hiding toddler who thinks holding their hands over their eyes can prevent them from being seen,” the billionaires who rely on a safe haven from the outside “are in for a surprise.”

This superyacht owned by Roman Abramovich is one way to escape an apocalypse.
This superyacht owned by Roman Abramovich is one way to ride out an apocalypse.
Getty Images

Thiel discovered this recently when the 54-year-old entrepreneur — worth an estimated $7.4 billion — learned that his plans to build a 477-acre “doomsday” home overlooking Lake Wānaka in New Zealand was being blocked by environmental groups

Even the preexisting bunkers offer only nominal protection, and the probability of one of them “actually protecting its occupants from the reality of, well, reality, is very slim,” writes Rushkoff. Whatever threat they’re trying to escape — toxic clouds, plague and radiation — it all has a way of “spreading and seeping through the most well-thought-out barricades.”

The Oppidum in the Czech Republic claims to be the world’s largest bunker for billionaires, boasting simulated sunlight to ease the underground drudgery, “impregnable” storage space and a wine vault.
The Oppidum in the Czech Republic claims to be the world’s largest bunker for billionaires, boasting simulated sunlight to ease the underground drudgery, “impregnable” storage space and a wine vault.
Courtesy of Oppidum/Mega

Cancer-causing microplastics “are as plentiful in the polar ice as they are in the typical European town,” Rushkoff continues. “There is no escape.”

But survival may not be their only rationale for disappearing. The “seasteading” movement— a “Minecraft-meets-Waterworld future,” Rushkoff writes, in which the wealthy live in independent, free-floating cities — is not just about “aquapreneurs” escaping the dry-land apocalypse. It’s also about creating a new ultra-libertarian civilization free from taxes, anti-monopoly regulations, and meddling politicians.

Vivos xPoint
Set on a former US Army base, Vivos xPoint consists of 575 private military-built bunkers — some equipped with pool tables.
Terra Vivos X point

As the Seasteading Institute website explains, “We’ve had the agricultural revolution, the commercial and industrial revolutions, but why not a governance revolution? Enter the sea.”

If they can’t find sanctuary for their bodies, they can still outsmart the end of the world by having their minds preserved. Silicon Valley tech billionaire Altman paid $10,000 to startup company Nectome just to be on the waiting list to have his brain uploaded to a computer.

‘[It’s about] only one thing: Escape from the rest of us.’

“Survival of the Richest” author Douglas Rushkoff, on post-apocalyptic planning

Who joins Altman (or has already joined him) remains to be seen. This past July, Dogecoin creator Shibetoshi Nakamoto asked his followers on Twitter if they’d ever “upload your brain to the cloud,” and Elon Musk, 51, cryptically responded, “Already did it.

Before coming to the United States, Cole spent 18 years in Eastern Europe, serving as a former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia in Northern Europe. He witnessed firsthand the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he insists we should be learning from the Soviets’ mistakes.

Vivos xPoint
The Vivos xPoint complex seen from ground level. The former US Army base is the size of a small city.
Terra Vivos X point

“I am deeply concerned with what I see happening in Europe, especially with energy and food,” he said. “That can easily happen here.”

His biggest concern isn’t a violent confrontation with the armed mob on the other side of the fence. It’s “the woman at the end of the driveway holding a baby and asking for food. I don’t want to be in that moral dilemma,” he told Rushkoff.

Vivos xPoint
“xPoint: The point in time at which only the prepared will survive,” proclaims the Vivos xPoint company website, which advertises bunker showrooms like this one.
Terra Vivos
Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires by Douglas Rushkoff
“The mindset that requires safe havens is less concerned with preventing moral dilemmas,” writes Rushkoff, “than simply keeping them out of sight.”

Cole hopes Safe Haven doesn’t just provide protection from those wealthy enough to afford it but becomes a prototype of how sustainable farms can be used to make sure everybody has enough food to eat and protection from the elements. 

He won’t reveal exactly how many wealthy investors he has, but he does claim the farm’s community will be evenly split between the rich and those with skill sets to “rebuild the country,” including doctors, machinists, and security.

But Cole’s ultimate goal, writes Rushkoff, is to ensure “there are as few hungry children at the gate as possible” when the time comes to lock down.

“The mindset that requires safe havens is less concerned with preventing moral dilemmas,” writes Rushkoff, “than simply keeping them out of sight.”

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Meghan Markle liked freebies — and clashed with staffers who tried to explain that royal protocol forbade accepting gifts from commercial organizations, according to a bombshell new book about the duchess and Prince Harry.

Markle, 41, fought with her personal assistant, Melissa Toubati, because Meghan wanted to keep the clothes she got, the Sun reported, citing excerpts from Valentine Low’s new book, “Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown.”

Toubati resigned six months after Meghan and Harry’s 2018 wedding.

Low’s book cited an insider who claimed: “Clashes centered on the free gifts that some companies would send Meghan. Deliveries were constantly arriving at Kensington Palace. ‘Clothes, jewelry, candles … It was non-stop.”

Meghan greets children at Albert Park Primary School in Melbourne, Australia.
Meghan greets children at Albert Park Primary School in Melbourne, Australia.
Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in 2017.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement in 2017.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Toubati’s approach “did not go down well with Meghan.”

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