A former top executive at Facebook was possibly fired over his support for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, Wall Street Journal has reported.
Oculus founder (a company acquired by Facebook) and virtual-reality wunderkind Palmer Luckey was seen as 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. Luckey’s donation in September 2016 to Nimble America, a group that funded ads mocking Hillary Clinton, reportedly sparked a backlash within Facebook.
Facebook denied that Luckey was fired due to his political ideology, but the Wall Street Journal report establishes that Luckey’s conservative political beliefs did not go well with Facebook’s top leadership and could have triggered his departure.
According to the report, Luckey was both forced to apologise for his donation and urged to support Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson, a candidate Zuckerberg and Facebook found more palatable than Trump.
Luckey subsequently hired an employment lawyer who argued that Facebook illegally punished him for his political activities and negotiated an exit package of at least $100 million.
Others argued that Luckey wasn’t directly fired for his political beliefs but for not disclosing them, though he had no legal obligation to do so.
Luckey's ouster from Facebook was a harbinger of battles that have broken out over the past year or so over the overwhelmingly liberal culture of Silicon Valley. This has given the tech industry public-relations headaches and brought unwanted attention from Washington, the report noted.
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