Facebook employees are turning on one of their own after it was discovered that the Silicon Valley company’s vice president for global public policy, Joel Kaplan, supported Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Kaplan is not only a political supporter of Kavanaugh, but a personal friend, NBC reported.
According to a report published on Thursday, internal message boards and emails between hundreds of Facebook employees carry a message of protest against Kaplan for his support of Kavanaugh.
Because the Facebook executive even went so far as to attend the supplemental hearing on Kavanaugh late last week, showing his support for the judge, some of the social media giant’s employees felt that it gave the impression Facebook itself was siding with Kavanaugh, according to NBC.
Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court has become a politically charged issue, following accusations made against him by several women who assert that Kavanaugh was involved in inappropriate behavior in high school and college.
One employee said they believed Kaplan’s attendance at the hearing and support of Kavanaugh was “a protest against our culture, and a slap in the face to his fellow employees,” NBC reported.
During a staff meeting last Friday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Kaplan’s choice to attend the hearing in support of his friend, but was clear it’s not something he himself would have done.
Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was not as positive about Kaplan’s decision. She said in an internal discussion board that she had talked to Kaplan “about why I think it was a mistake for him to attend, given his role in the company,” according to Fox News.
“We support people’s right to do what they want in their personal time but this was by no means a straightforward case,” Sandberg added.
Facebook’s statement also admitted “mistakes in handling” the issue, and thanked those who lodged complaints about Kaplan.
“Sexual assault is an issue society has turned a blind eye to for far too long — compounding every victim’s pain,” Facebook said in a statement, according to NBC.
“Our leadership team recognizes that they’ve made mistakes handling the events of the last week and we’re grateful for all the feedback from our employees.”
While sources informed NBC that Kaplan did not inform his employer that he planned to attend Kavanaugh’s second hearing, which covered the allegations of assault against him, Zuckerberg has made it clear that Kaplan did not break company rules by attending.
Kaplan’s connection to Kavanaugh is more than just a passing acquaintance, and the pair has been friends for a long time.
Both Kavanaugh and Kaplan served in President George W. Bush’s administration and have been friends since that time.
Kaplan served as the senior adviser to Bush, and Kavanaugh worked on the Bush legal team during the 2000 election recount, NBC reported.
Kavanaugh also served as an assistant to Bush and as White House staff secretary.
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