‘The information provided appears to have been carefully selected to lead the reporters to one specific, and erroneous, conclusion…’
This time, the company has been forced to respond to allegations that it fired one of its senior executives for holding conservative views, according to Business Insider.
Facebook is denying the story.
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal linked the departure of Palmer Luckey to a report that he was a supporter of Donald Trump and that during the 2016 election he donated $10,000 to a group that posted anti-Hillary Clinton memes.
Luckey is probably best known as the founder of Oculus, an American technology company that specializes in virtual reality.
But his political views seemed to have struck a nerve with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. According to leaked emails obtained by the Journal, Zuckerberg even pressured Luckey to publicly switch his support from Trump to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee.
After being put on leave following his donation to the anti-Clinton group, Luckey was fired in March 2017—but not before reportedly negotiating a $100 million payout with Facebook in order to prevent a lawsuit. Luckey had hired an employment lawyer, who argued that Facebook had broken California law by firing him.
Andrew Bosworth, who now oversees the Oculus division at Facebook, was adamant that Luckey’s firing was not due to his political views.
“[W]hat was shared [with the Wall Street Journal] was not the truth and … the information provided appears to have been carefully selected to lead the reporters to one specific, and erroneous, conclusion,” he said on Twitter.
Other sources speaking with the Journal suggest it was not Luckey’s donation that rankled Facebook, but that he misled the company about it.
But if that’s the real story, Facebook is staying quiet. And it would surprise no one if Luckey was fired for his political views. Tech employees in Silicon Valley overwhelmingly support liberal candidates, and a former Facebook engineer quit the company after claiming it had an “intolerant” culture toward conservatives.