Thomas Siebel, CEO of data services and tech company C3.ai, has confirmed that he provided a major donation to the truck drivers that have shut down large parts of Canada's capital and a key border crossing to protest pandemic protections.
The CEO said he contributed $90,000 to the so-called "Freedom Convoy," noting it was one of many donations he’s made in honor of issues including protecting "human rights" and "individual liberty." The company happens to be one of many promising to “democratize” artificial intelligence through low- and no-code AI tools.
“I have a long record of providing substantial support to efforts to improve education, advance research, improve access to education, address homelessness, alleviate food scarcity, assure climate security, fund stem cell research, reduce substance abuse, assist the underprivileged, and protect human rights. These are personal initiatives and have nothing to do with the companies or organizations with which he is associated,” Siebel said in a statement sent to Protocol.
However, Siebel swapped “individual liberty” with “human rights” in multiple statements supplied to the media. In a near-identical statement that Siebel gave to Illinois newspaper The News Gazette published Tuesday, Siebel included his goal “to protect individual liberty.”
The tech billionaire’s donation to the disruptive trucker collective and its supporters was first revealed when hackers leaked a list of people who allegedly funded the controversial movement demanding an end to COVID-19 mask mandates in Canada. The jam of parked delivery trucks and their honking drivers, camped since January 28 at the Ambassador Bridge near Detroit, led to a standstill at the U.S.-Canada border. (A related protest in Ottawa has also put residents on edge.)
The Ambassador Bridge was reopened Sunday, but the protest bottleneck created an auto parts shortage and forced Motor City automakers, including General Motors, to charter cargo planes to ship parts over the border.
C3.ai counts trucking, logistics and manufacturing companies among its clientele. The company provides software used for things like package logistics, energy management and predicting fleet maintenance needs, for example.
Despite Siebel’s support for the group of truckers that are fighting to end covid-19 protections and vaccine requirements, he told Illinois newspaper The News Gazette that all employees at C3.ai’s headquarters are tested twice each week using testing technology developed at the University of Illinois. Siebel is a graduate of the school and mega-donor with buildings dedicated to the studies of design and computer science named after him.