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Former Harvard prez Larry Summers disses Winklevoss twins

July 21, 2011 |  8:51 am


Lawrence "Larry" Summers, the president of Harvard University when Mark Zuckerberg and his friends (at the time) were founding Facebook, confirmed his dislike of the Facebook-suing twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss as depicted in last year's film, "The Social Network."

Summers was being interviewed Wednesday in front of an audience by Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute (who is currently writing an authorized bio of Apple's Steve Jobs), at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference.

According to a video of the interview published online by Fortune magazine, Isaacson asked Summers, "So was that scene in 'The Social Network' true?"

Summers responded, getting a laugh out of those in attendance:

"I've heard it said that I can be arrogant. If that's true, I surely was on that occasion.

"One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o'clock, there are two possibilities.

"One is that they're looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an [expletive]. This was the latter case.

"Rarely, have I encountered such swagger, and I tried to respond in kind."

Summers served as Harvard president from 2001 to 2006 and before joining the executive board at the quickly growing mobile payments start-up Square, founded by Jack Dorsey of Twitter, he was President Obama's chief economic adviser and also the former U.S. Treasury secretary. 

6a00d8341c630a53ef01538f2fcaee970b-600wi The Winklevoss twins have been in a seven-year legal battle over ownership in Facebook, providing much of the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film "The Social Network."

The latest developments in their fight has the brothers taking their case to a federal court in Boston, arguing that Facebook left out important information during litigation that led to a previous settlement giving the twins and their business partner, Divya Narendra (who also went to Harvard), $65 million in cash and Facebook shares. The 2008 settlement is now believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The legal concerns have done nothing to stem Facebook's astronomical growth. Earlier this month, the company announced that it had surpassed more than 750 million users


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photo (top): Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers accepts the World Economy Prize in Kiel, Germany, on June 18. Credit: Markus Scholz / EPA

Photo (bottom): Cameron Winklevoss (left) and his brother Tyler leave the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a hearing on a settlement dispute with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2011. Credit: Stephen Lam / Reuters