Social media guru's wedding causes controversy, $2.5 million fine

Sean Parker, social media guru and billionaire, is unable to avoid controversy. (Source: Amager/Wikicommons)
Sean Parker, social media guru and billionaire, is unable to avoid controversy. (Source: Amager/Wikicommons)

(RNN) - In case you missed it, ladies and gents, another social media bachelor billionaire is off the market.

Sean Parker, the social media guru who co-founded Napster, was founding president of Facebook and is current director of Spotify, married Alexandra Lenas in an elaborate $10 million June wedding among the redwoods in Big Sur, CA.

The service was attended by luminaries such as Sting, who lent his pipes, Cory Booker, Emma Watson and Sean Lennon, according to the New York Post.

The wedding sparked an internet furor amid allegations of environmental damage incurred to the redwoods and surrounding environmentally sensitive lands, including a stream home to a threatened fish.

To pull off the wedding, Parker started a company that altered the landscape at an old campground so that he could be wed in a Middle-Earth inspired setting. The work was done without the required permits.

According to the cease-and-desist order from the California Coastal Commission, violations included "grading, construction of multiple structures including a gateway and arch, an artificial pond, a stone bridge, multiple event platforms with elevated floors, rock walls, artificially created 'ruins' of cottage and castle walls, multiple rock stairways, and a dance floor."

Parker wound up paying a $2.5-million fine to the California Coastal Commission in connection with his nuptials.

The Atlantic Wire's Alexis Madrigal called the spectacle "part of the Silicon Valley parable: dream big, privatize the previously public, pay no attention to the rules, build recklessly, enjoy shamelessly, invoke magic, and then pay everybody off."

Valleywag wagged their finger at Parker and remarked, "When you help make Facebook a billion-strong global entity, you don't worry about permits, my friend. Permits are for the rest of us."

Parker took to TechCrunch to defend himself with a lengthy explanation and counterattack, which Valleywag responded to with scorn.

He also sent a letter to The Atlantic Wire, which caused Madrigal to backpedal a bit.

"I can't say I agree that there is nothing extravagant about doing $4.5 million in site preparation, but I can say that at least it wasn't quite the know-nothing bigfooting that it appeared to be," Madrigal remarked.

In an interview with CNET, Parker said that he had even been subjected to death threats posted to his Facebook account. He claimed much of the environmental violations existed before the private company he created to manage the wedding even stepped on the scene.

The enigmatic Parker, who is reportedly worth $2 billion, was played by Justin Timberlake in the movie that dramatized the launch of Facebook, The Social Network.

Another Facebook billionaire, casual-wear aficionado and Gov. Chris Christie fan Mark Zuckerberg, got hitched last year. Jesse Eisenberg played Zuckerberg in The Social Network.

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