Luckey’s quick departure from the social media giant last year led to speculation over why the virtual reality pioneer left the company.
At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Luckey left because of a “personnel issue” and declined to give any specifics. He said that addressing the issue would be “inappropriate.”
However, Zuckerberg stressed that the departure was not because of political reasons.
But a new report by the Wall Street Journal claims that political reasons were exactly why Luckey was fired. The Journal reported that Luckey made a $10,000 donation to an anti-Hillary Clinton group in the midst of the 2016 presidential election.
Six months later, he was fired.
Sources told the Journal that Luckey was placed on leave and then fired because he supported Donald Trump in the election.
The report also said Luckey was forced by corporate executives to publicly support libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
Luckey reportedly hired an employment lawyer who argued that he was wrongfully terminated because of political reasons, but ended up negotiating a $100 million payout from Facebook.
A Facebook spokesperson would not comment on Luckey’s departure. “All details associated with specific personnel matters are kept strictly confidential,” the company said. “This is our policy for all employees, no matter their seniority.”
Despite not revealing details, the spokesperson doubled down on the company line that Luckey wasn’t fired for political reasons.
“But we can say unequivocally that Palmer’s departure was not due to his political views. We always made it clear that any mention of politics was up to Palmer and we did not pressure him to say something that wasn’t factual or true.”
The report comes amid speculation that top tech companies including Google, Twitter and Facebook have a left-leaning bias against conservatives.
In August, President Donald Trump said Google was “suppressing voices of conservatives and hiding information and news that is good.”
….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
Brian Amerige, a senior Facebook engineer, penned a memo in August saying that the culture in the company was a “political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views.”
He ended up leaving the company in October. “I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that’s how I know it’s time to go,” Amerige said.
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