A day after a Daily Beast story revealed that he had donated money to an organization supporting Donald Trump’s President run, Oculus founder (and Facebook employee) Palmer Luckey has come clean about his activities. Well, kinda.
Luckey, whose wealth is estimated at $700 million courtesy of Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of his company two years ago, wrote in a post — on Facebook, of course — that he had provided $10,000 in financial backing for the ‘alt-right’ group Nimble America but that “recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views.”
The Daily Beast reported a series of uncouth statements by Luckey — “I’ve got plenty of money… money is not my issue. I thought it sounded like a real jolly good time” — which included his support for Donald Trump’s White House candidacy, and his belief in challenging “the American elite.” The Oculus founder had earlier made public his support for the group via Reddit, where, writing under the ‘NimbleRichMan’ account, he offered to match all donations made to the organization, which is best known for its pro-Trump ‘shitposting’ activities.
Writing on Facebook, Luckey denied publishing the Reddit posts and said he is neither a founder or employee at Nimble America.
All good in theory, except that he had told Daily Beast writer Gideon Resnick that he did publish the posts himself, though the account was set up for him. Likewise, Resnick wrote that Luckey was listed as “vice president” of the group on its website.
Luckey also appeared to u-turn on his endorsement of Trump. According to one of the now-deleted Reddit posts that he told Daily Beast he posted — but then said on Facebook that he didn’t post — Luckey has “supported Donald’s presidential ambitions for years” and “encouraged him to run in the last election.”
But, on Facebook, Luckey said he will vote for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
“I am a libertarian who has publicly supported Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in the past, and I plan on voting for Gary in this election as well,” he wrote.
Welcome to the post-fact world.
As for why he would make a donation in that case?
“I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards,” he added.
That’s one way to describe shitposting, which is essentially high volume trolling aimed at confusing and distorting the conversation.
The incident is sure to have embarrassed Facebook, although the organization is getting plenty of practice in the business of dealing with embarrassing statements from highly visible members of its rank and file.
Facebook board member Peter Thiel publicly backed the Trump Presidential bid — going so far as to speak at the RNC in July — although he retained his position with a successful reelection despite a political affiliation that many in Democrat-heavy Silicon Valley disagree with. (Not to mention his one-man crusade to destroy Gawker.)
Then earlier this year, in February, Facebook distanced itself from comment made by Marc Andreessen, another company board member, about India after the country outlawed Facebook’s Free Basics initiative to provide free internet.