In February, Zynga CEO and founder Mark Pincus filed for a restraining order against Vera Svenchina, an amateur filmmaker and former stripper from Russia.
In a declaration to a court in San Francisco, Pincus says Svenchina threatened his wife and children and even visited his home in person twice in a week.
Pincus’s declaration includes bizarre emails and voicemails he allegedly received from Svechina over a span of several days in mid-February.
A judge granted the restraining order in March, based on “stalking” and “a credible threat of violence.”
This kind of thing happens more often than it should to successful tech entrepreneurs. In February, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg filed a restraining order after a stalker told him he was “ready to die for you.”
You’ve heard of Mark Pincus because Zynga is the multi-billion dollar Facebook games studio that created mega-hits Farmville, CityVille, and FrontierVille. Started just a couple years ago, Zynga already has a bigger market value than one-time video game industry leader, Electronic Arts.
Svechina, Pincus’s alleged stalker, is much more obscure, though she’d like not to be.
She’s got a book and an animated film. She kept a blogs about her experiences working at strip clubs in San Francisco and Las Vegas. She has another blog dedicated to her time working as a foreign hostess in Japan. She once sold t-shirts under the “Flying Stripper” brand.
In the voicemails, emails, and posts to her blog Pincus submitted as evidence in his declaration, Svechina allegedly says many bizarre things, including that Zynga was her Russian family’s idea, that Google’s cofounders killed her father, that Pincus’s children are “ugly babies” and that “I wish them all the worst.” She also goes after Steve Jobs.
In May 2010, Svechina went to the Mountain View Police Department to report a crime. That crime, according to a Police spokesperson: Google was sending messages to her brain, ordering her to kill herself. The police committed her to a mental ward for 72 hours.
Last month, Svechina followed a blind employee into Google headquarters and dropped off a Russian book and a non-threatening note for Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Google security later reported the trespass, though no chargers were pressed.
In the declaration, Pincus says he got to know Svechina years ago, when she dated a friend of his, and that she appeared “normal” at the time.
Besides Pincus’s declaration and the restraining order itself, we’ve also obtained from a reader a document that, at first glance, appears to be a 2004 letter Pincus once wrote to help Svechina, explaining that he’d like to invest in one of her films.The letter looks like something someone would write to help a friend obtain a visa. But the letter may be fake, especially since it ends with an obvious grammatical error.
Zynga and Mark Pincus declined to comment on this story. We reached out to Vera Svechina and did not hear back.
One series of blog posts suggest hat Svechina was arrested and sent to a mental ward after visited Google's Mountain View campus.
In this letter, allegedly written by Pincus, he says he'd like to invest in Svechina's films. If the letter is real, it was probably written for a visa.
Here's what she says about the experience in her 'photographer's notes':
I started to dance in 2005, at age 32, by pure accident. The production of my first feature film in Russia was stoped, because we didn't get the money from the Russian government (GOSKINO). I was just separated, broke and depressed, back to SF thinking of human sexuality. My father just got retired and started to have heart problems, so I didn't want to take money from my family no more. My girl friend - a folk dancer from Russia, who was working in the strip clubs for some time then, invited me to work with her. I never imagined myself working in a place like that, but in that time I really needed a job and I was curious, so I agreed to give it a try and went to the audition. As I walked into the dressing room of 'HUSTLER' club in San Francisco for the first time, all the knowledge I had about strip clubs (tipical understanding of it) disappeared. I entered a totally different world from what I had imagined. There was no 'strippers' there, but really young and beautiful girls, normal girls who were confident with their bodies and sexuality and who made much more money then an average person does. Some of them were not even avare of how sexy and beautiful they are. They were very young! There were Performres. Artists. Stars. I understood that all I knew before about strip clubs was not exactly right and I couldn't wait to experience this new for me world. I was smitten by beauty of pole dancing and power of the environment called a 'strip club'. Power of illusion. Thin line between reality and fantasy. I was exited to be hired and work there and I knew from day one - the photos from place like that would be beautiful! It took me two years of working and learning about the place before one day I took out my camera out and started shooting.
I want to say 'thank you' to the girls who agreed to work with me. To the managers and to Jean Pigozzi for sending me in 2007 Cannon G9 and moral support.