Facebook Fired Virtual Reality Pioneer for Supporting Trump
Silicon Valley is in thrall to the cult of diversity. Its measures its employees against racial metrics even as an industry, whose engine is meant to be the intellect, purges any hint of intellectual diversity.
It happened at Google with James Damore.
Now it happened at Facebook with Palmer Luckey.
Luckey’s Oculus fueled the race for virtual reality. Facebook bought his company for a fortune. And then it forced him out because he supported Trump and opposed Hillary.
Facebook Inc. FB executive and virtual-reality wunderkind Palmer Luckey was a rising star of Silicon Valley when, at the height of the 2016 presidential contest, he donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group.
His donation sparked a backlash from his colleagues. Six months later, he was out. Neither Facebook nor Mr. Luckey has ever said why he left the social-media giant. When testifying before Congress about data privacy earlier this year, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg denied the departure had anything to do with politics.
Mr. Luckey, it turns out, was put on leave, then fired, according to people familiar with the matter. More recently, he has told people the reason was his support for Donald Trump and the furor that his political beliefs sparked within Facebook and Silicon Valley, some of those people say.
Internal Facebook emails suggest the matter was discussed at the highest levels of the company. In the fall of 2016, as unhappiness over the donation simmered, Facebook executives including Mr. Zuckerberg pressured Mr. Luckey to publicly voice support for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, despite Mr. Luckey’s yearslong support of Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the conversations and internal emails viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Think about that for a moment.
The head of a major corporation who effectively controls social media discourse, was telling one of his people whom to publicly support in an election. Now imagine how he’s using that power to control what you share and say.
Mr. Luckey started Oculus in 2012, while still a teenager, with a $2.4 million crowdfunding campaign. He dropped out of the journalism program at California State University, Long Beach, to work on the company, along with co-founder Brendan Iribe. When they sold to Facebook, Mr. Luckey became the face of the virtual-reality industry, appearing on a Time magazine cover saying the technology was “about to change the world.”
Mr. Luckey, a Long Beach native who was home-schooled by his mother, has sometimes been out of step with the largely liberal culture of Facebook. A fan of big cars and military gear, he drove a giant tan Humvee with machine-gun mounts and orange toy guns. He once was forced to move it from the Facebook parking lot after someone called the police in to investigate, according to people familiar with the episode.
Mr. Luckey has been a longtime supporter of Mr. Trump and wrote a letter to the then-reality-television star in 2011 urging him to run for president. Mr. Luckey has told friends that reading Mr. Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” at age 13 sparked his entrepreneurial imagination.
Mr. Luckey’s fallout with Facebook began in September 2016, when the Daily Beast revealed his $10,000 donation to NimbleAmerica, a pro-Trump group that paid for advertising mocking Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election. At least one billboard paid for by the group featured a picture of Mrs. Clinton and the phrase “Too Big to Jail.”
This is the purpose of these media doxxing operations. Much as with Damore and Eich. That’s followed by internal social justice crybullying, screams of fake pain, rage. Until the leadership gives in.
. Facebook employees expressed anger about Mr. Luckey on internal message boards and at a weekly town hall meeting in late September 2016, questioning why he was still employed, according to people familiar with the complaints.
“Multiple women have literally teared up in front of me in the last few days,” an engineering director, Srinivas Narayanan, wrote in one internal post following the meeting. Mr. Narayanan didn’t respond to requests for comment.
And yes, it gets worse.
The post said Mr. Luckey is a libertarian and planned to vote for Mr. Johnson in the election.
“I need to tell you that Mark [Zuckerberg] himself drafted this and details are critical,” Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal wrote to a lawyer for Mr. Luckey in a September 2016 email, attaching an early draft of the statement, according to the emails reviewed by the Journal. The draft said Mr. Luckey wouldn’t be supporting Mr. Trump in the election.
Mr. Luckey has told people he did vote for Mr. Johnson, but only to avoid having his credibility questioned if he was asked about the issue under oath in unrelated litigation.
This is the perverse obscenity of individual choice that lefty corporate fascism has foisted on us.
It’s not just political issues. It comes down to political candidates.
Facebook launched a human-resources investigation, which in 2016 found that Mr. Luckey hadn’t violated internal policies, say people familiar with the investigation. His performance reviews were consistently positive, including his last in June 2016, those people say.
That’s the usual story. His crime was his politics.
The question is can we allow the industry that viciously censors conservative employees to censor the internet?