Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey hasn’t really been eager to talk to the media since he left Facebook nearly two months ago (despite a cosplay-focused Japanese interview). In fact, Luckey hasn’t said much about the controversy surrounding his political donation since a brief statement last September.
However, in yesterday’s Twitter posts, Luckey seemed to express his annoyance at the public pressure he felt following public donations to Nimble America, a pro-Trump group that sold itself to “shitposting” and “meme magic,” as well as subsequent donations. to Trump’s inauguration effort.
“I don’t think anyone should be disqualified for being the ‘face of a medium’ for supporting the US president, regardless of party,” Luckey said. wrote in response to a poster opposing “politics” [that] support the oppression of people based on sexuality, race, religion or gender.”
“If you think saying ‘I support the President of the United States’ makes someone a bigot who should be fired, then we’re just too far apart,” he added. in different tweets. “You may want to relax the restrictions on your ideological purity test, or at least figure out where the blame falls by association. Otherwise, you’re going to have to have a pretty tough time in life — pretty much everyone supports someone who is the president.”
Luckey’s tweets follow a Reddit post last month in which Luckey defended that he was trying to keep his political donations out of the public eye:
Some people want founders to keep their politics private and away from their company, others feel they should do everything openly in a vocal way. You can’t make everyone happy, and there are good arguments on both sides, but it’s clear that people who happen to align with the majority of the media’s views are ahead anyway.
Anyway, the idea that anonymity = misconduct is dangerous. It is a major factor in the ongoing erosion of our digital freedoms and is used to justify things like massive data collection and encryption backdoors. Nothing to be afraid of if you’re not doing anything wrong, right?
When a transsexual teen with bigoted helicopter parents posts anonymous messages on a local support forum, is it because he thinks it’s wrong? What about fans of Bernie Sanders in the Deep South who want to support their candidate of choice without alienating clients and associates who support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Whistleblowers in general? Those aren’t perfect comparisons, of course, but it goes to show that there are plenty of reasons to do something anonymously in good faith. If you want to challenge the actions yourself, fine, but trying to stay out of the political limelight should not be condemned.
In another Reddit post days later, Luckey said that reports that he had “hidden” Trump donations by giving them through shell corporations “were just more fake news from the reputable media. The company that they are a shell corporation is basically a continuous business with healthy sales, multiple employees, and mostly non-cash assets — in other words, the opposite of any definition of a shell company.”
In response to that post, Luckey took issue with “several supposedly reputable outlets who outright claimed that I paid teams of people to harass others online, that I financed the creation of white supremacist memes, and that I somehow way was responsible for filling Facebook and Twitter feeds with those memes. All false…”
Back on Twitter, Luckey seemed reluctant to submit to interviews about his departure from Facebook or his political donation (update: Luckey declined an interview request from Ars Technica). While he said he can appreciate “the conundrum” of the media if he doesn’t want to speak to them directly, he said he’s “[doesn’t] think the media should make claims with no evidence to back them up.”