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Oculus co-founder reportedly claims he was ousted for his pro-Trump views

https://mashable.com/article/palmer-luckey-wsj-report/

A 'Wall Street Journal' report claims Palmer Luckey told people he was ousted due to his political views.
A ‘Wall Street Journal’ report claims Palmer Luckey told people he was ousted due to his political views.

Image: Horacio Villalobos – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey told CNBC in early October he couldn’t talk about his departure from Facebook, but said “that it wasn’t my choice to leave.”

When he left the company in March 2017, there was speculation it was due to Luckey’s donation to a pro-Trump organization called Nimble America, a trolling group which spread memes against Hillary Clinton, as reported by The Daily Beast.

Now a Wall Street Journal report claims that Luckey was put on leave, then fired, and that he had told people recently it was due to his support of Donald Trump.

Following the revelations of Luckey’s donation, employees were reportedly angry that his support extended to Nimble America, which was founded by two moderators of subreddit /r/The_Donald, infamous for its casual misogyny and hate speech. 

Citing internal Facebook emails, WSJ reports Luckey received a payout amounting to $100 million following his exit, and that he had been pressured by Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to publicly voice support for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in the aftermath of the donation.

However, sources who spoke to the publisher said that Luckey being fired for his politics was “too simplistic” an assertion, and that his lack of honesty amid the donation debacle and a diminishing role at Oculus were bigger factors.

Facebook has long denied Luckey’s departure had anything to do with his politics, with Zuckerberg reiterating this during his testimony to Congress in April. A Facebook spokesperson told WSJ via 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.”

Facebook’s vice president of VR/AR Andrew “Boz” Bosworth echoed that statement, tweeting that Luckey’s departure had “nothing to do” with his politics.

Also critical of the WSJ report was NBC reporter Ben Collins, who, alongside reporter Gideon Resnick, originally covered Luckey’s donation to Nimble America for The Daily Beast. In a tweet, Collins said the notion of Luckey being fired due to his conservative politics “seems kind of nuts.”

Collins added that before he had admitted to the donation, Luckey had lied to Facebook about his support for the trolling group, which he did so under a secret pseudonym called “NimbleRichMan.” Luckey had confirmed this to Resnick via email.

Facebook has been contacted for comment.

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