Facebook 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. … Mr. Luckey … 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. …
A Facebook spokeswoman said in an email: “We can say unequivocally that Palmer’s departure was not due to his political views. We’re grateful for Palmer’s contributions to Oculus, and we’re glad he continues to actively support the VR industry.”
Some people at Facebook say it is too simplistic to say Mr. Luckey was fired over his politics, and that his lack of candor during the episode involving the donation and his diminished role in Oculus operations were larger factors.
Typical denial from the left. Of course it would prick their consciences too much to say “we didn’t like his politics so we fired him.” So instead they blame it on some procedural violation — “his lack of candor during the episode involving the donation”. Sure. Maybe Mr Luckey didn’t come out and tell everyone immediately he made the donation because he knew all the other executives would strongly react and he would get fired? Slimey.
This is what they couldn’t abide:
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. …
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. …
Oh no. Multiple women! Tears! Got to go. Also:
Some virtual-reality-game developers said they wouldn’t work with Oculus in the future.