Steve Jobs exposed as an abusive creep by his daughter (2022)

Steve Jobs would never have survived #MeToo.

The myth he built — a difficult man whose genius made him so and justified any personal failings — has finally been leveled.

Small Fry,” the new memoir by his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, depicts a sadistic man and a horrible father: sexually inappropriate, verbally and psychologically abusive, pitiless and cheap — with his time, money, emotions, attention.

This was a man who liked to make little girls cry.

Brennan-Jobs, now 40, opens her book with a deathbed scene unlike any other. There is her father, a titan of the 20th century, emaciated and unable to walk, propped on a hospital bed in his study. She goes into the restroom and finds an expensive bottle of rosewater face mist. She spritzes herself. She is trying to make every interaction, possibly their last, perfect.

“I’d given up on the possibility of a grand reconciliation, the kind in the movies,” she writes. “But I kept coming anyway.”

After hugging her father goodbye, his bones protruding through waxy skin, he calls for her.

“Lis?”

“Yeah?”

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“You smell like a toilet.”

While promoting her book, Brennan-Jobs has, poignantly, sought to excuse scenes like these. “Just to be clear: I did, in fact, smell like a toilet,” she tweeted on Aug. 15. She has expressed fear that readers might not appreciate the love she still has for her father or realize she has forgiven him. Even as a teenager, she felt guilt for wanting him around: After all, he was busy changing the world, socializing with rock stars and partying in the South of France.

“I figured no one would think, ‘Hey, that guy should have been raising his daughter instead.’ ”

She was right.

The Jobs family has since released a statement about Brennan-Jobs’s memoir that reads, in part, “The portrayal of Steve is not the husband and father we knew.”

But her mother, Chrisann Brennan, recently told the New York Times that the memoir actually downplays her daughter’s childhood. Still, the book “was horrendous for me to read,” said Brennan, who herself does not come off well. “It was very, very hard. But she got it right.”

Brennan-Jobs spent the first three years of her life without a father. Jobs denied paternity until one day in late December 1980, when he rushed through a legal settlement of $500 a month in child support.

Four days after that, Apple went public, making Jobs worth over $200 million. His daughter would grow up in chaos and poverty — until those moments he would swoop in and show her his world.

And it was creepy.

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Brennan-Jobs had her first overnight visit with Steve — never Dad — in the fourth grade. He sent his secretary to pick her up and deposit her outside his office, where she waited, alone, until the sun went down. He barely said a word to her on the drive home, fed her a dinner of bland salad and murky juice, then asked, “Wanna take a hot tub?”

On the drive to school the next day, he pointed out the Hoover Tower and said, “Look. It’s a penis. It’s the penis of Palo Alto.” He talked to her of female beauty, which gave young Brennan-Jobs “a strange feeling . . . the longing in his voice when he talked of blonde hair or breasts, gesturing weights in his cupped hands.”

He told young Lisa a story about Ingrid Bergman, whom Jobs lusted after and who once stayed at a friend’s house. “It turns out Ingrid Bergman liked to sunbathe in the nude, and my friend, who was a boy then, whose bedroom looked out over the pool, was watching her. And then she was, well, she was … The moment it happened, the climax, she looked up at him. Right at him.”

Brennan-Jobs had no idea what he was talking about, but would never forget this story — because he never stopped telling it.

As she aged, Jobs became even more sexual in front of his daughter. He dated a woman named Tina, a beautiful blonde who, to Brennan-Jobs, “seemed like she was a woman but also a little girl.” They would often make out in front of young Lisa; at one dinner, Jobs grabbed Tina by the head. “As they kissed, he pressed his palm against her breasts, wrinkling the fabric of her T-shirt. ‘Mmm,’ he said.”

Jobs did this not just in front of Lisa but her mother and his own sister — often — and no one told him to stop. It all confused her. Why didn’t anyone ever tell Steve no? Why would his girlfriend go along with this? Did that mean it was okay?

“I was simultaneously repulsed and intrigued,” Brennan-Jobs writes. “I guess my role was to watch and note how much he adored [Tina], even though it gave me a strange feeling to be near them when they did this.”

She was 9 years old.

“Try to be part of this family,” or the more sinister, “If you want to be part of this family …” were Jobs’s constant threats to Lisa. It allowed him to get away with unacceptable behavior: asking his daughter if she masturbated, going through all “the bases” with her, joking that her new bed would see no shortage of boys, telling her how to insert a diaphragm.

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At one point, her mother learns that Jobs’s assistant gardener has been accused by his children of molestation. She begs Jobs to fire the man. He refuses.

His sadism extends to her young cousin Sarah. The girls are in elementary school, and Brennan-Jobs wants Sarah to meet her father. They have dinner at a local shopping center and Sarah orders a hamburger.

This will be her undoing.

“What’s wrong with you?” Jobs asked. Sarah was confused.

As Brennan-Jobs writes, her father shifted into a loud, grating voice, making sure every diner there could hear him.

“You can’t even talk,” he said to Sarah. “You can’t even eat. You’re eating s—t.”

Sarah just stared at him, trying to hold back tears.

“Have you ever thought about how awful your voice is? Please stop talking in that awful voice. I wish I wasn’t here with you. I don’t want to spend another moment of my life with you. Get yourself together … You should really consider what’s wrong with yourself and try to fix it.”

As he got up, Sarah finally dissolved, “sobbing messily, with snot and tears, wiping her nose on the back of her sleeve and telling us she was fine. I was smaller than she was, shorter, slighter. But she was small too.”

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“He’s a mean person,” Brennan-Jobs tells Sarah. But a big part of her, even today, doesn’t want to believe it.

These are but a few of the many cruelties Jobs visited upon his daughter.

Steve pushes Brennan-Jobs out of family photos. He treats her like hired help, except he doesn’t pay her. He tells her she’ll never get anything from him and will grow up to be nothing. She hears her half-sister Eve describe her as “Daddy’s mistake.” On vacation, Jobs introduces Lisa to his friend Larry Ellison, and squeezes her tight when Ellison brags he’s just flown one woman out of town and is flying another one in, neither any wiser.

These are the gods of Silicon Valley, exacting their revenge of the nerds.

It’s a poisonous ethos, largely untrammeled, and Brennan-Jobs, intentionally or not, has written more than a memoir. It’s a revelatory depiction of tech-world hypocrisy — the belief held by these men that they, in making our lives better, are beyond rebuke.

For years, the legend of Steve Jobs has been gilded by worshipful men: In his authorized biography, Walter Isaacson depicted Brennan-Jobs as uncaring and callous. Aaron Sorkin softened Steve’s relationship with Brennan-Jobs in his facile redemption tale — the daughter a sacrificial lamb, albeit none too wounded.

There’s no finessing it: Steve Jobs was a monster.

How fitting that Brennan-Jobs’s memoir is published now, as the #MeToo movement approaches its first anniversary. Jobs deserves the same cultural re-evaluation as Woody Allen, Harvey Weinstein and all the rest. The Great Man mythology itself should be done.

Brennan-Jobs alights on this simple truth, her own #MeToo coda, when expressing her gratitude for the family friends who rescued her from the Jobs home, so perfect on the outside, her father the prince of Palo Alto.

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They were the only ones, she writes, who “didn’t like the idea that because my father had money and was surrounded by people who pandered to him, he could get away with being cruel to a child.”

On Wednesday, Brennan-Jobs told the “Today” show that she doesn’t hate her father — she wishes only that she had had more time with him.

She may have forgiven Steve Jobs, but that doesn’t mean we have to.

FAQs

Why did Steve Jobs refuse to acknowledge his daughter? ›

Steve Jobs refused to believe the baby was his

His paternity denial led to a legal battle where a DNA test proved he was indeed the father. However, he still refuted paternity, claiming “28% of the male population of the United States could be the father.”

Did Steve Jobs apologize to his daughter? ›

Tech giant Apple's former CEO Steve Jobs was apologising to his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs while he was breathing his last for subjecting her to a lifelong cruelty reveals a much-anticipated latest memoir written by Jobs' daughter herself.

What was Steve Jobs accused of? ›

APPLE genius Steve Jobs has been branded as a perpetrator of “child abuse” as more explosive details from his daughter's new memoir emerge. In her soon-to-be-released book Small Fry, Job's firstborn, illegitimate daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs describes years of cruelty and neglect at the hands of her famous father.

Did Steve Jobs marry Lisa's mother? ›

Chrisann Brennan (born September 29, 1954) is an American painter and memoirist. She is the author of The Bite in the Apple, an autobiography about her relationship with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
...
Chrisann Brennan
PartnerSteve Jobs (1972–1977)
ChildrenLisa Brennan-Jobs
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Did Steve Jobs ever talk to his biological father? ›

More Stories by Lindsay Powers. Steve Jobs inadvertently met his biological father, his biographer, Walter Isaacson, revealed on 60 Minutes Sunday night. Isaacson released audio recordings of Jobs speaking about the encounter to the CBS newsmagazine. His biography of Jobs hits stores Monday.

How did Steve Jobs feel about being adopted? ›

Knowing I was adopted may have made me feel more independent, but I have never felt abandoned. I've always felt special. My parents made me feel special. They were my parents 1,000 percent.”

What did Steve Jobs daughter say about him? ›

Steve Jobs

Why did they put Steve Jobs for adoption? ›

Schieble gave birth to Jobs in San Francisco on February 24, 1955, and chose an adoptive couple for him that was "Catholic, well-educated, and wealthy", but the couple later changed their minds.

Did Lisa Brennan Jobs get an inheritance? ›

According to Fortune magazine, in his will, Jobs left Lisa a multi-million dollar inheritance.

What was Steve Jobs IQ? ›

Steve Jobs' IQ is estimated to be 160 which is the same as Bill Gates and equivalent to that of Albert Einstein.

What was Steve Jobs biggest fear? ›

Shortly before Steve Jobs died, I met with him. He told me his biggest fear was that Apple would become a financial corporation, not a product company.

What was Steve Jobs afraid of? ›

Koumpounophobia is the fear of buttons. Steve Jobs had it — or at least a strong aversion, which explained his affinity for touch-screens and turtlenecks. So do an estimated one of every 75,000 people alive today.

Was Steve Jobs infertile? ›

According to his ex partner and Lisa's mother Christen Brennan, Jobs spent the next two years denying paternity. Jobs vouched that “he couldn't be Lisa's father because he was 'sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child.

How many wives Steve Jobs had? ›

APPLE founder Steve Jobs was the father of four children – he had three daughters and one son. He was married to Laurene Powell Jobs, the mother of three of his children, but was in a long-term relationship previously with Chrisann Brennan, the mother of his eldest child.

Who is the biological mother of Steve Jobs? ›

While serving in Wisconsin as a teaching assistant, he met the woman who would become Steve Jobs' biological mother, Joanne Schieble. Jandali and Schieble would eventually marry, but not until they put the future co-founder of Apple up for adoption, the year he was born, in 1955.

How is Mona Simpson related to Steve Jobs? ›

She is the younger sister of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. She was born after her parents had married and did not meet Jobs, who was placed for adoption after he was born, until she was 25 years old.

Why did Steve Jobs never meet his father? ›

But he decided he didn't want to meet Jandali. By then Jobs was a very wealthy man and he was concerned Jandali would blackmail him or go to the press about their relationship. Jandali later found out that Jobs was his son, but refused to make contact with him because of his “Syrian pride”.

Did Steve Jobs make it to his son's graduation? ›

On a bittersweet note, Steve Jobs did live to see his son graduate from high school. During the ceremony, an ecstatic Jobs sent an email from his iPhone to his biographer: "Today is one of my happiest days. Reed is graduating from high school.

What was Jobs biological mother's wish? ›

My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

What was Steve Jobs most famous quote? ›

We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” This is one of Steve Jobs' most famous and inspiring quotes.

Did Steve Jobs love his daughter? ›

Steve loved Lisa, and he regretted that he was not the father he should have been during her early childhood. It was a great comfort to Steve to have Lisa home with all of us during the last days of his life, and we are all grateful for the years we spent together as a family.”

What are the 3 stories Steve Jobs talks about? ›

Jobs' speech followed three stories from his life: one, in which he tells an anecdote about dropping out of college; another, about the lessons he learned from being fired by Apple in 1985; and lastly, his reflections on death.

Did Steve Jobs ever give to charity? ›

While his philanthropic efforts were rarely made public, many have attested to Jobs' charitable nature. Jobs donated over $50 million to Stanford hospitals through Apple and contributed to various projects to fight AIDS.

Was Steve Jobs a billionaire? ›

$360 billion

At the time of his death, Steve Jobs' net worth was $10.2 billion.

Was Marilyn Monroe adopted? ›

Marilyn Monroe

Monroe's mother struggled with mental illness, and her father was unknown. While several families expressed interest in adopting her, her mother wouldn't sign the papers. She ended up moving in with her mother's best friend, Grace, and later her great-aunt Olive.

Why Bill Gates is richer than Steve Jobs? ›

How is Bill Gates richer than Steve Jobs though Apple is a more valuable company compared to Microsoft? This is because Steve Jobs was never really interested in accumulating wealth: Steve Jobs would get only $1 per year as salary while he was working at Apple.

How rich would Steve Jobs be today? ›

More On: steve jobs

Based on Disney's current value, Jobs' stake would now be would now be worth nearly $22 billion. But in an alternate history, Jobs could have held onto a larger bite of Apple and ended up the richest man in the world. Jobs owned about 11 percent of Apple when the company went public in 1980.

How much money did Steve Jobs leave his family? ›

INHERITANCE. Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011, following a battle with pancreatic cancer, aged 56. Before his death, the former Apple CEO amassed a net worth valued at $10.5 billion that he left to his wife Laurene Powell-Jobs. As of this year, Powell-Jobs is now worth over $22 billion.

What is Elon Musk IQ? ›

Elon's IQ is estimated to be around 155, while Albert Einstein's is 160. With such a slight margin, Musk is undoubtedly an incredibly smart person. Who is the smartest person on earth in 2022? Born in 1975 in Adelaide, Australia is a mathematician, Terence Tao with an IQ score of 230.

What is Zuckerberg IQ? ›

Although it is unknown whether Mark Zuckerberg has ever taken an IQ test, sources estimate his IQ to be around 152. This is considered to be a genius IQ.

What is Brad Pitt's IQ? ›

What IQ Did These Famous People Have?
NameOccupationIQ
Brad PittHollywood actor126
Abraham LincolnPolitician148
Andy WarholArtist86
Jodie FosterActress132
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What CEOs fear the most? ›

While CEO pay has skyrocketed this year, so has their anxiety about keeping their jobs—72% of CEOs fear losing their positions, according to a recent survey.

What is the longest word phobia? ›

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words. This 35-letter, 15-syllable word contains the root sesquipedalian, which means "long word." Therefore, it is sometimes called sesquipedalophobia.

What were Steve Jobs weaknesses? ›

His legendary impatience, relentless quest for perfection, domineering presence and obsessive need to control fostered as much as fear within the Apple culture. Steve Jobs is also often described as smug, willful, brazen, demeaning, volatile and manipulative. 5.

Why did Steve Jobs cry so much? ›

He cried because he wanted the original Apple II to have a one-year warranty, rather than 90 days. Indeed, Jobs cries so often in Walter Isaacson's recent biography that the events all blur together, as though the text itself is stained with tears.

Did Steve Jobs ever cry? ›

Jobs also admitted that sometimes, when he found something truly incredible, he was moved to tears. He told Isaacson: "Every once in a while, I find myself in the presence of purity — purity of spirit and love — and I always cry."

How did Bill Gates betray Steve Jobs? ›

So he lent Apple's new operating system (hereinafter referred to as “OS”) to Microsoft so that Bill can work on software applications for the Mac. Bill Gates was so blown away with the new OS from Apple that Steve showed him. He becomes competitive and decided to betrayed Steve Jobs.

When did Steve Jobs recognize his daughter? ›

Here's the Moment Steve Jobs Finally Admitted Apple's Lisa Computer Was Named After His Daughter. Steve Jobs poses with the Lisa computer during a 1983 press preview. When it comes to the personal shortcomings of those we idolize, we have long looked the other way. But Small Fry, a book out Sept.

Why did they put Steve Jobs for adoption? ›

Schieble gave birth to Jobs in San Francisco on February 24, 1955, and chose an adoptive couple for him that was "Catholic, well-educated, and wealthy", but the couple later changed their minds.

What was Jobs biological mother's wish? ›

My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

Did Steve Jobs ever give to charity? ›

While his philanthropic efforts were rarely made public, many have attested to Jobs' charitable nature. Jobs donated over $50 million to Stanford hospitals through Apple and contributed to various projects to fight AIDS.

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