If recent reports are to be believed Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey had to pay a very big price to support his favorite political leader.
A recent report coming from the Wall Street Journal, citing internal emails and sources familiar with the matter, claims that Luckey was fired from Facebook six months after he secretly made a $10,000 donation to an anti-Hillary Clinton group during the 2016 presidential election.
“His donation sparked a backlash from his colleagues. Six months later, he was out,” the report added.
As per the report, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress earlier in 2018 that Luckey’s departure had nothing to do with his political beliefs. He called out Luckey’s departure a personnel issue that was inappropriate to address. He was first put on leave and eventually fired, albeit with an exit package worth at least $100 million.
Notably, neither Facebook nor Luckey revealed the reason why he left the social media giant. However, more recently, Luckey has told people the reason was his support for Donald Trump and the furor that his political beliefs sparked within Facebook and Silicon Valley.
The internal Facebook emails obtained by WSJ suggest the matter was discussed at the highest levels of the company. Unhappy about the donation to Nimble America, a meme factory that often attacked Hillary Clinton, Facebook executives including Zuckerberg pressurized Luckey to hide his support of Trump in the fall of 2016 and back libertarian candidate Gary Johnson publicly instead.
In response to the WSJ report, Facebook has issued a statement noting that details about specific personnel are kept strictly confidential.
“We always made it clear that any mention of politics was up to Palmer, and we did not pressure him to say something that was not factual or true,” the Facebook statement read, reported Quartz.