This is How Fake News Happens: The Reporting of Palmer Luckey and Nimble America

by Blake Harris • April 29th, 2017

As journalists — especially those, who publish multiple articles weekly — we’re often so focused on the now-now-now, that we rarely take a step back and reflect on stories from a few news cycles ago. Especially when those stories were inaccurate, misleading or outright false. It’s easier to just make a small correction or two (or perhaps even none at all) and move on to the next piece.

It’s somewhat understandable why this happens—we’re busy, readers have already lost interest, etc. etc.—but ignoring these things leads to a sort of systematic problem: a lack of accountability, which should be incredibly concerning to us all. Because, in retrospect, it’s easy to see how this dynamic becomes fertile ground for “fake news.”

Like many of us these days, “fake news” has been on my mind. But the problem—or one of them at least!—is that we think of fake news as a binary thing; a story is either fake or it’s not; a story is either fabricated (Elvis Lives!) or true (Cubs Win the World Series!) but in many cases that’s not really how fake news actually works. Instead, it starts with a misleading or inaccurate story—often one with a sexy headline—and then spews through social media, energized by outrage, support or concern, and then ripples into a dogpile of stories that either echo the original piece (but with a twist) or amplify the outrage/support/concern by talking about what other people are talking about.

Like I said: this is something that had been on my mind, but it was something I tried to push aside while I finished up my new book (the one about VR). Until, unfortunately, such an incident became part of the story that I was writing about; when, in September, The Daily Beast published an article titled Palmer Luckey: The Facebook Billionaire Secretly Funding Trump’s Meme Machine.

I’m sure you remember that article (how could you not with a headline like that!) and I’m sure you recall some of the pieces that followed—like Ars Technica’s How your Oculus Rift is secretly funding Donald Trump’s racist meme wars or Boing Boing‘s Facebook ‘near-billionaire’ Palmer Luckey secretly funding racist pro-Trump hate meme machine—as well as the social media assassination of Palmer Luckey (and his girlfriend).

An assassination that, by the way, I’d argue would have been warranted…if what was described in those headlines had actually been true. But that’s just not the case. Not even close. I can go into more detail if you’d like, but here’s a generic overview of what happened and why—initially for my own records—I put together this timeline.

In mid-September 2016, Palmer Luckey donated just shy of $10,000 to a recently formed pro-Trump non-profit organization called Nimble America. At the time of his donation, the entire body of Nimble America’s work consisted of putting up a single billboard in the Pittsburgh area [pictured below]. Going forward, Nimble America planned to put up more billboards in battleground states (hence the organization seeking donations).

nimble-poster

Now, whether or not you like Donald Trump, and whether or not you find the above billboard tasteful, it is important to note the following:

  • Nimble America was not responsible for creating or spreading any memes online.
  • Nimble America’s goal was to take meme-like images [like the billboard above] and put them into the real world (via billboards, t-shirts and stickers).
  • There is no evidence—nor, based on my research, do I see any reason to believe—that this organization promoted any sort of racist, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic or white supremacist agenda. Neither is there any evidence of Nimble America engaging in any sort of trolling, harassing or “astroturfing.”
  • Milo Yiannopoulos had no affiliation with Nimble America other than to endorse the cause and, in his capacity as a moderator of the The_Donald subreddit, verify that there was indeed a wealthy backer [Luckey] who had donated to the organization [a little less than $10,000].

These points are important to note because they are rarely reflected in how this story was reported. Below is a timeline of how the story was reported and the ripples that ensued…

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016

[note: all times PST]

6:00 PM The Daily Beast (Gideon Resnick, Ben Collins)

Palmer Luckey: The Facebook Billionaire Secretly Funding Trump’s Meme Machine

Excerpt: “Palmer Luckey—founder of Oculus—is funding a Trump group that circulates dirty memes about Hillary Clinton.”

6:10 PM @websterandrews2:

guess I won’t be buying an oculus rift

6:13 PM @rillawafers:

eat my entire ass

6:15 PM @anildash ✔:

One reason every political hashtag on Twitter is filled with racist trolls? The founder of Oculus is funding them

6:16 PM @blackholetalos:

Rich kids who think fking America is funny. The age of overnight millionaires, reality TV sensations and Twitter bullies.

6:18 PM @jezzerat:

It’s so weird that someone named @PalmerLuckey could turn out to be a douchebag

6:18 PM @anildash  ✔:

This guy, @PalmerLuckey, put some of his billion FB dollars toward explicitly funding white supremacy. Peter Thiel approved the acquisition.

6:19 PM @DukeOfVinings:

what a sad man you must be.

6:23 PM @ablington:

I curse his immortal soul for funding the meme industry. Fuck this guy.

6:25 PM @BrowningStephen:

Sad that such a talented guy has gone to the dark side. There’s got to be a more constructive way to create, pal.

6:28 PM @CodyBrown ✔:

Holy fuck @PalmerLuckey. You’re using your @Oculus fortune to back a pro-Trump org w/ [Milo Yiannopoulos]? Plz tell me this is VR

6:34 PM @anildash  ✔:

Next $FB earnings call is November 2. I want this to be the first question that comes up.

6:43 PM Kotaku (Luke Plunkett)

Oculus Rift Founder Palmer Luckey Funding Trump Shitposters

Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus Rift, has been keeping busy since he sold the company to Facebook in 2014. One thing he’s done to pass the time, as reported by The Daily Beast, is to financially back (and be named Vice President of) a company dedicated to alt-right meme shitposts.”

6:45 PM @rbottoms:

@anildash You just broke the biggest story of the year concerning people of color in tech. Thank you.

6:46 PM @JohnLeguizamo  ✔:

why are you trying to undo our democracy by funding anti-Hillary memes? Do you want #trump 2 b our president? What’s wrong w u

6:46 PM @ScrutaGames:

Until @PalmerLuckey steps down from his position at @oculus, we will be cancelling Oculus support for our games.

Note: With this message, Scruta Games became the first developer to publicly announce they would no longer be working with Oculus. A handful of other developers would follow in the days ahead.

6:52 PM @maladamus:

His anger toward women is obviously obvious.

6:52 PM @HumanityPlague:

You obviously won’t care but you’re a wretch of a human being.

6:56 PM @anildash  ✔:

Story is all @GideonResnick & @oneunderscore__ , I’m just happy to amplify.

6:58 PM @joanmbird:

so you’re a White Nationalist? Wow, must be difficult to work with others. Poor thing. Hope sales don’t tank even more.

6:59 PM @Toadsanime  ✔:

You blew it, man.

7:04 PM Boing Boing (Xeni Jardin)

Facebook ‘near-billionaire’ Palmer Luckey secretly funding racist pro-Trump hate meme machine

“Luckey is funding a pro-Donald Trump “shitposting” tactical team that churns out racist, sexist, hatey anti-Hillary Clinton memes and works to make them go viral.”

7:05 PM @brant ✔:

Bigot

7:09 PM @josefkstories:

Hey @PalmerLuckey did you ever consider curing malaria or polio with that money or was funding racist trolls the first thing you thought of.

7:10 PM @ironicaccount:

that Oculus Rift kickstarter sure had weird stretch goals

7:21 PM @CodyBrown ✔:

The amazing part of this is @PalmerLuckey didn’t invent core VR tech. FB deal enabled by ‘borrowed’ Valve prototypes

7:29 PM @carmencolborne

got a compassionate bone in your pudgy body? Didn’t think so

7:35 PM @jasonschreier  ✔:

Hooooooolllllyyyyyy shit

7:39 PM @rbottoms:

@PalmerLuckey Make me sick to my stomach. Bad enough to think racist AltRight Neo-Nazi scum run…

7:40 PM @rbottoms:

…Silicon Valley and the failure to make any progress in diversity is accidental.

7:41 PM @rbottoms:

This basically shows that a lily-white tech nirvana is a feature, not a bug.

7:49 PM @pixelatedboat:

*puts on VR helmet*

*Palmer Luckey appears*

“Welcome to libertarian paradise. No taxes. All money is bitcoins. Murder is legal. GOD IS DEAD”

7:53 PM @HonestWilliam  ✔:

Hey. My name is @PalmerLuckey and this… Is Jackass.

7:56 PM @DanaHoule:

Revenge Of The Racist Asshole White Supremacist Racist Asshole Racist Sexist Asshole Nerds

8:08 PM Business Insider (Ben Gilbert)

Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey is financing a pro-Trump meme group

“He may be most closely associated with the kinds of anti-Clinton Facebook memes that even strident Donald Trump supporters roll their eyes at…with a focus on viral, anti-Clinton memes.”

8:09 PM @TTLabsVR:

Hey @oculus, @PalmerLuckey’s actions are unacceptable. NewtonVR will not be supporting the Oculus Touch as long as he is employed there.

8:11 AM @samfbiddle ✔:

this guy turned out to be an immense shithead? no way

8:11 PM @kimmaicutler:

@PalmerLuckey’s girlfriend.

@nikkimoxxi:

I’m at the Trump rally in Anaheim! Love the diversity of people here!

Note: When later asked about that tweet, Nicole Edelmann (aka @nikkimoxxi) replied, “I definitely meant it sincerely! I met so many great people from all different races, ages, and backgrounds.” Regardless, her Twitter feed would soon become so inundated with threats of rape and violence that, by the following morning, she disabled her account.

8:14 PM @Cheryllynn512:

#Shameonyou

8:23 PM @Papapishu ✔:

My HTC Vive review:

  1. Good immersion
  2. Comfortable headset
  3. Not invented by an obscenely rich pissbaby edgelord

8:19 PM @LeftWingMilitia:

The French Revolution 2.0 is coming & we’ll see your head fall into basket of deplorables.

8:22 PM @NickH725:

whomp whomp, I wish you good fortune in the flame wars to come

8:26 PM @Papapishu ✔:

Excited for the new PlayStation VR slogan “VR….Without The Holocaust Memes”

8:46 PM @LukePlunkett ✔:

Musk: let’s go to Mars!

Luckey: whitesupremacistmeme.jpg

9:03 PM @GhostofGhostDad:

Will I catch racism if I try on an Oculus headset?

9:35 PM @markhaverty:

@PalmerLuckey once called a plumber about a big shit clogging his toilet. The plumber tried to drag him out of the house.

9:36 PM @MimasAgency:

guess your career is over…RT

9:45 PM @AndyWarrenStein:

@PalmerLuckey is a singularly bad person.

9:27 PM @minliangtan:

Oh wow, I thought the pro-Trump Palmer Luckey story was satire the first time I read it. Just realized it’s true.

10:11 PM @MelWebster:

L-O-S-E-R

10:13 PM @sherylmaloney:

Zuckerberg gives billions to fight disease @PalmerLuckey gives millions to spread racism. The latter is everything wrong with the valley.

10:17 PM @Vahn16 ✔:

sure was considerate of palmer luckey to bring vr to the masses so they can escape the nightmare terror world he hopes to usher in

10:33 PM @CalebTRB:

I am so appalled to have ever given you a dime.

11:34 PM @Rockmstr99:

I will never, NEVER buy an oculus.

11:35 PM @yldcatz:

@PalmerLuckey watch your back

11:45 PM @BenKuchera ✔:

It’s going to be tricky to get devs and press excited about Oculus Connect 3 until this whole “funding white supremacy” thing is addressed.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

12:11 AM @Alshie:

So has Palmer Luckey always been a douche? We’re we too distracted by crap magazine covers and flip flops?

12:12 AM @danhett:

I’d like to announce my new VR experience about punching Palmer Luckey in the throat until the heat death of the universe

12:19 AM @curtkrone:

@PalmerLuckey is a sad little manbaby.

12:19 AM @andichance:

I will never purchase anything made by this man because I will never fund fascism, demagoguery and racism

12:20 AM @ScholarlySentnl:

ashamed of you man, really looked up to not anymore, no more @oculus, who supports hatred and bigotry

12:48 AM @gamesbymanuel:

Palmer Luckey, I really thought you were one of the good guys. This is unforgivable.

1:01 AM @rowast:

not only doez Zuck need to fire Palmer but he needs to drop the name oculus

1:04 AM @kathy279:

Hey racist, xenophobic, NEO-NAZI, bigot, misogynist aka Palmer Lackey; you on your way to becoming a PARIAH to the whole world

1:31 AM @TheosUnluckyDip:

Unluckey

1:35 AM The Guardian (Alex Hern)

Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey spends fortune backing pro-Trump ‘shitposts’

“The pair [Luckey and Facebook board member Peter Theil] stand in marked contrast to Facebook’s founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, who has been vocal in his support of progressive policies – and his opposition to Donald Trump.”

1:48 AM @SteveZiss0u:

I’d bring some boxes to work tomorrow because Facebook probably isn’t going to give you much time to clean out your office.

2:10 AM DailyKos (Annette K. Larson)

Meet Luckey Palmer – Oculus Rich Kid who Filled the Internet with Anti Hillary – Racist Sleaze

“It’s a convoluted story and I’d recommend going to both articles [from The Daily Beast and The Guardian] to get clear in your heads exactly what the little a’hole has been up to.”

2:35 AM @Tafdolphin:

@PalmerLuckey How’s today working out for you champ?

2:43 AM @Csimmons21:

@PalmerLuckey @oculus I want a refund on political grounds.

3:16 AM @sfcalling85:

@PalmerLuckey You support #Trump? Just tossed your machine. Boo!

3:55 AM @Jschmuck2:

@PalmerLuckey what a disappointment.

4:05 AM @florisvaneck:

The VR scene is one of the most inclusive and diverse within tech. @PalmerLuckey just dropped a bomb on it. He has to step down.

4:30 AM @kapilan98:

@PalmerLuckey just got a whole lot of unlucky. Despicable.

5:04 AM @TheKevinDent ✔:

Personally, I hope @PalmerLuckey has a huge penis, so he can go fuck himself!

5:11 AM @TheKevinDent ✔:

“Daddy where were you when you found out @PalmerLuckey was a bigot?”…..

5:12 AM @ThatSabineGirl:

Fuck Oculus. Or Nazi Goggles, as they will henceforth be known.

5:30 AM @chadelind

you forgot “petulant child” in your Twitter description.

5:47 AM @nkolakowski ✔:

I’d pay to be a fly on the wall when Zuck talks to @PalmerLuckey about white nationalist and anti-Semitic memes.

5:52 AM @JKxZ:

he fucked over crowd sourcing to make billions, now he wants to fuck over America by being a shitposting troll?

5:53 AM @thereisonlyr:

With @PalmerLuckey unmasked as sponsor of a racist troll network, @CodyBrown says @Facebook & @oculus need to step up

5:56 AM @beaknit:

We won’t forgive or forget.

6:00 AM The Independent (Andrew Griffin)

Shitposting: What is the bizarre online behaviour that could win Donald Trump the election?

“Numerous elections have been called the first social media election, but this might truly be the first powered by trolling.”

6:28 AM @ericmgoss:

Trump supporting pieces of shit will have to answer for their actions when the dust clears.

6:31 AM @MediaGuyNYC:

better take those goggles off and pay attention to ACTUAL reality…

6:32 AM Ars Technica (Tom Mendelsohn)

How your Oculus Rift is secretly funding Donald Trump’s racist meme wars

“The stream of racist, sexist, and economically illiterate memes appearing in support of Donald Trump…is being bankrolled in part by the 24-year-old inventor of Oculus Rift.”

6:38 AM @thenateralph:

How your Oculus Rift is secretly funding Donald Trump’s racist meme wars. Step down, [email protected]

6:41 AM @gabriele4591:

can’t wait till #Trump takes away your freedom of speech , you disturbed little man

6:47 AM Motherboard (Emanuel Maiberg, Oliver Lee Bateman)

What Does Alt-Right Patron Palmer Luckey Believe?

“Liking an islamophobic tweet is not the same as being islamophobic. A retweet is not an endorsement. People do and say a lot of dumb things on Twitter and that does not necessarily reflect their character. But from the Twitter presence of Luckey, a well-moneyed public figure and key player in the VR industry who holds a certain power and influence, a pattern emerges.”

6:59 AM Mashable (Keith Wagstaff)

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey is apparently funding anti-Hillary memes

“And who helped Luckey create Nimble America? None other than conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos, recently famous for being banned from Twitter after harassing Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones online.”

7:00 AM @shanekaiglenn:

Their goal is to create a racist, misogynist virtual utopia where these low self-esteem dorks can live out their fantasies

7:05 AM @snarkcycle:

Shove your alt-right memes up your ass. #thanks

7:05 AM @Wharrgarbl42:

@PalmerLuckey Stole oculus technology from ZeniMax, claims it as his own. Liar, cheat, thief, fraud. Just like Trump.

7:45 AM @rolling_2:

even millionaires can be racist!

@PalmerLuckey is that poster boy.

7:50 AM @sean1279:

Looks like I will be selling my Oculus. I can’t bear to fund hate, even if it’s in a roundabout way.

8:00 AM @hugmpussy:

You aligned urself w/ Donald Trump and memetic engineering of a pro racist and pro nationalist marketing firm. Brace ur self.

8:01 AM @nicklohr:

phew! so glad your political bs made my buying decision much easier. Never give money to Oculus– got it.

8:03 AM Thai Phan, who worked with Luckey at USC, publishes the following post on his Facebook account:

Here is some truth: when Palmer worked at MxR, and was still attending CSULB, he would impersonate his calculus professor, mocking his broken English. He told me his prof was Vietnamese and wondered why all of his profs couldn’t speak perfect English. This bothered me a little… but I figured he was just acting his age, and was merely frustrated with math. I’m glad that this is out in the public now… it shows he hasn’t changed.

8:08 AM The Atlantic (Ian Bogost)

Why a Silicon Valley Founder Is Funding a Factory for Trump Memes

“For wealthy geeks like Palmer Luckey who seek vengeance against the institutions they perceive to exclude them, “The Donald” is an obvious ally.”

8:08 AM @NeonNazgul:

But hey @PalmerLuckey thanks for reinforcing the stereotype that gamers are white male racist douchebros. Good job, champ.

8:33 AM @Ronorra:

oKKKulus scumbag.

8:40 AM @Normchacho:

So, White-supremacy, how’s that going for you?

8:49 AM @bearplane3D:

you could have promoted women in tech, diversity in games, built tech to make the world a better place for the less fortunate

8:54 AM Gizmodo (Bryan Menegus)

Palmer Luckey, Millionaire Founder of Oculus Rift, Loves Donald Trump and Dates a Gamergater

“It’s been an open secret for some time that Palmer Luckey, the 24-year-old founder of VR company Oculus Rift and heir apparent to the future of gaming, is a strange guy—the type who argues with his customers on Reddit and casually cosplays as My Little Pony characters. Turns out, he also appears to be an active supporter of Donald Trump and the alt-right, and in a long-term relationship with an avid Gamergater.”

9:01 AM Polygon (Colin Campbell)

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is spending big on anti-Hillary memes

“Nimble America’s front page features a story about rapists operating in “criminal gangs” along the Mexico border, echoing some of Trump’s most controversial claims.”

9:03 AM @wayofthedodo:

Don’t care how much $ @Palmer Luckey contributes to Trump’s marketing. DJT will lose in Nov & Luckey will be out a few mil. Fuck them both.

9:26 AM @timtimtimtim:

This revelation made me want to vomit harder than Rift DK1 did :-/

9:27 AM @peo:

Oh boy, you fucked it up again…

9:29 AM @adlangx:

I’ll definitely be avoiding the Trump VR set.

9:48 AM @JanPKarlsson:

You don’t need Putin’s money I presume, so I can only conclude you wish to destroy America for free? Trump is a charlatan.

9:51 AM @kadybat:

There are people like Palmer Luckey throughout Orange County. Deeply conservative, tacitly racist, masking their racism with false populism.

9:56 AM @smktty:

Palmer Luckey’s girlfriend is pretty much a Nazi.

9:58 AM @MaxTemkin:

@Polytron Cards Against Humanity will not support Oculus as well

Note: Prior to this tweet, the “Nuisance Committee”—a Super-PAC founded by Cards Against Humanity creator Max Temkin—had just spent $20,000 to put up a 90-foot anti-Trump billboard in Chicago near O’Hare International Airport. .

10:22 AM @Cripplor:

The 14 y.o.’s shitposting on 4chan in 2006 are today’s silicon valley billionaires buying elections for lulz

10:22 AM @Ianshook:

Man, you’re really getting the hang of disappointing people.

10:23 AM @jvizer:

@PalmerLuckey is so stupid, he thinks that the country that turned an unknown VR enthusiast into a near billionaire is not already great.

10:25 AM UploadVR (Ian Hamilton)

VR Community Divided After Report Ties Palmer Luckey To Pro-Trump Meme Group

“E McNeill, the developer of early VR titles Darknet and Tactera, both available through the Oculus store, tweeted a screenshot of a $1,000 donation to Hillary Clinton’s campaign after the report published on Thursday afternoon. Another Twitter user wrote “I’m cancelling Touch support in my game as long as Palmer works for Oculus” along with a photo directing the middle finger at the as-yet unreleased controllers.”

10:29 AM @ETPC1:

lol palmer luckey’s shitlord racist girlfriend deleted her twitter account after last night

10:30 AM @RandPaulHQ:

White Power, White Power, White Power, White Power, White Power,White Power, White Power, You are a good Nazi sir!!!

10:37 AM @ScottWalkerUSA:

So you are Trump’s Joseph Goebbels? Awesome dude.

10:38 AM VentureBeat (Jeff Grubb)

I’m not surprised Palmer Luckey is funding pro-Trump ‘shitposts’

“I’ve spoken with Luckey only a couple of times over the years, but we’re also friends on Facebook. That never really meant anything until July, when…in an effort to mock one of my other friends, the Oculus founder used 4chan’s “greentexting” syntax to imply she was being ridiculous. Greentexting is when 4chan users put the “>” symbol in front of their text to turn it green. This signifies the user is telling a story or the user is quoting someone else to highlight how silly they are.”

10:48 AM @thatadamguy ✔:

@anildash Disheartening and disgusting. But I’m worried collateral damage of punishing Luckey via Occulus. Any more targeted suggestions?

10:49 AM @anildash ✔:

@thatadamguy I’m open to suggestions for accountability, but an organization that he leads seems the appropriate target.

11:17 AM @VoteMarcoRubio:

I am releasing KKKickstarter. Will you help us fund it?

11:19 AM @FortKickassYT:

Palmer Luckey sounds like the name of the douchey preppy the hero would have to beat in a ski race to save the rec centre in an 80s movie.

11:42 AM @DaiyuHurst:

Palmer Luckey must die.

11:49 AM @CaseyNewton ✔:

Somebody make a 30-day VR experience about life as a non-white American male and strap it to Palmer Luckey’s stupid face

12:26 PM @the_rami ✔:

The whole situation with Oculus and Luckey just makes me so sad that I want to escape into some sort of HTC Vive-powered virtual reality.

12:50 PM Polytron, the developers of a game called SUPERHYPERCUBE, publishes the following statement on pastebin:

You may have seen the news yesterday that ties Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey to Nimble America, a Trump-endorsing organization Luckey started to defame Clinton via “the power of Internet memes”.

In a political climate as fragile and horrifying as this one, we cannot tacitly endorse these actions by supporting Luckey or his platform.

In light of this, we will not be pursuing Oculus support for our upcoming VR release, SUPERHYPERCUBE.

If you are a voting citizen of the United States, please remember to register and make your voice heard this November 8th. Do not let bigotry, white supremacy, hate and fear win.

1:30 PM The Ringer (Alyssa Bereznak)

Palmer Luckey Has Money to Burn: Predicting the next move for tech’s newest über-villain

“OK, we get it, Luckey. You’re very young. You have a very silly, very white name…You have a sister named Ginger. If things were different, and you didn’t have the money to fund a community of trolls who want to elect Trump, maybe you’d be like any other Long Beach college dropout, spending your student loans on novelty shot glasses at Urban Outfitters.”

1:12 PM @de_cNile:

Rip dude, it was good while it lasted 🙁

1:56 PM @SBenzell:

I thought I knew who you were. But funding white supremacist trolls? The con-man Trump? You and Thiel are on something strong

2:19 PM @enMTW:

When do you plan on resigning?

2:27 PM @GamerRed:

A lifelong game developer, I’m ashamed FOR you. Flaunting your Male White Privilege to embolden White Supremacy. #NeverTrump

2:30 PM @doombot999:

I liked Palmer and was happy for his wealth when he was just a kooky inventor. Now though? Fuck that guy.

2:30 PM @n_Googs:

go fuck yourself and fuck trump too

2:35 PM New York Magazine (Brian Feldman)

Who Is Palmer Luckey, the Facebook VR Millionaire Funding a Pro-Trump Meme Campaign?

“To be clear: There is no hard evidence so far that Nimble America has made any memes or funded any trolls, though it exists, has money, and bought a billboard in Pittsburgh.”

3:00 PM CNBC (via The Daily Beast)

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey funds anti-Clinton ‘dirty meme’ group

3:34 PM @poylehomer:

@PalmerLuckey Is a shitbag who bought into the rags2riches myth that rich guys tell themselves. I won’t be supporting anything he touches.

3:50 PM @LevNovak:

you’re a gross, bad person, and no amount of money will ever buy you peace if you continue to pursue the false joys of evil.

4:00 PM Vice (Patrick Klepek)

Why Oculus’s Palmer Luckey Is Getting So Much Shit For Supporting Trump

“This is about the intersection of money and power, and it cuts deep in a world where billionaire Peter Thiel secretly bankrolled lawsuits to bankrupt Gawker Media.”

4:10 PM WIRED (Joanna Pearlstein)

Palmer Luckey Is the Worst, but He Doesn’t Reflect Silicon Valley

“In the best Silicon Valley man-child tradition, Oculus inventor Palmer Luckey is seeking to sway the presidential election by putting his money behind anti-Hillary Clinton trolls.”

4:10 PM @kristenvbrown ✔:

For those following along in the Palmer Luckey saga, his girlfriend, Nikki Moxxi, seems to have deleted her Twitter

4:42 PM The Verge (Adi Robertson)

Palmer Luckey’s Trump fund has been a kick in the teeth for VR

[Quoting an anonymous developer] “How much of the 30 percent cut of our revenue that goes to Oculus is going to fund neo-Nazi hate memes?”

4:44 PM @mikecsiy:

Congrats, I’m throwing away my development kits. Maybe I should burn them for a YouTube video. #effoculus

4:47 PM @GeoffreyArend ✔:

Holy fuck @PalmerLuckey. Had no idea your side gig was promoting racist idiots. Shame on you. Can I get my money back? #viveisbetteranyway

5:11 PM @bad_technician

remember when you were an up-and-coming VR mogul and not a Trump-loving-PR-mess for Oculus? #PepperidgeFarmRemembers

5:17 PM @JebBushforPres:

@Oculus please cut ties with this racist douchebro

5:22 PM @enamoredgirl:

Why not spend your $$ on good things instead, like Zuck?

5:33  PM @bad_technician:

your patriot grandpa would be ashamed of the way you’re using your money to subvert the political process. #shame

5:36 PM @SamKeaton4:

Seriously, are just a very rich young nerd with no social conscience or morality?

5:44 PM @GangsterSwedish:

So basically @facebook is financing @PalmerLuckey ‘s chickenshit anonymous pro-racist-for-President antics. Got it.

5:53 PM @hellroy:

@PalmerLuckey & @oculus are officially off my nice list and on to the naughty one.

6:03 PM @bobservo:

after learning that Palmer Luckey’s girlfriend cosplays as GamerGate mascot Vivian James, i honestly don’t think this story could get better

6:12 PM The Hollywood Reporter (Natalie Jarvey)

Backlash brews after Oculus founder funds anti-Hillary Clinton memes

6:23 PM @dennislarkin:

[email protected] is a total racist #AltRight @realDonaldTrump supporting #SCUMBAG! You can throw him in the #BasketofDeplorabes with the rest!

6:44 PM Palmer Luckey publishes the following post on his Facebook account:

I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners. The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views.

Here’s more background: I contributed $10,000 to Nimble America because I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards. 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.

I am committed to the principles of fair play and equal treatment. I did not write the “NimbleRichMan” posts, nor did I delete the account. Reports that I am a founder or employee of Nimble America are false. I don’t have any plans to donate beyond what I have already given to Nimble America.

Still, my actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.

7:10 PM Fast Company (Daniel Terdiman)

Palmer Luckey “sorry” for harming Oculus’s reputation, says he’s just funder of anti-Hillary meme org

7:23 PM @oneunderscore_ ✔:

[email protected] Palmer, what you just wrote about NimbleRichMan isn’t true. Or you didn’t tell the truth in an email earlier this week.

7:38 PM @nickwcoleman:

You let everyone down man.

7:43 PM ‏@ShardShinjuku:

@PalmerLuckey has yet to understand that his current situation ends with him falling on his sword one way or another.

7:44 PM ‏@jessesingal ✔:

Palmer Luckey sounds like the name of a highly inbred descendant of the South’s laziest and stupidest slaveowner.

7:44 PM @Cernovich ✔:

[email protected] DO NOT apologize, do not resign from any job, do not do anything. Tim Hunt’s case is informative.

Note: Cernovich links to an article about Tim Hunt, a Nobel Prize-winning British biochemist, who was “mocked and vilified on Twitter and in the media after he reportedly told a gathering of women scientists that “girls” in the lab are a nuisance because they are lovesick crybabies.”  

The article goes on to explain “It turns out that, just as Hunt has claimed, the 72-year-old scientist’s comments during a luncheon at a science journalism conference in Korea in June were an awkward self-deprecating joke—greeted with laughter (not the reported “stony silence”) by a mostly female audience. The “Tim Hunt, misogynist scientist” narrative has been falling apart piece by piece over the past month; last week, it was finished off by a snippet of audio recorded by a female attendee and made public by The Times. Now, attention should turn to the real scandal: irresponsible journalism magnified by social media frenzy.”

7:49 PM @bill_e_wheeler:

Hey shit-stain – hear that? It’s the sound of every living human being in 31 blue states never, ever using Oculus. Ever.

7:57 PM Jason Rubin publishes the following post on his Facebook account:

I wanted to give Palmer Freeman Luckey a chance to respond before I said anything, and having read his post. I take him at his word. Those of you who have known me before I joined Oculus know that I would not work in a place that I thought condoned, or spread hate. Nor would I remain silent if I saw it raise its head. I have always believed that games, and now especially VR, have the potential to bring people together. My view is unwavering. I continue to believe that Oculus can make the world a better place.

8:30 PM @k3nchi:

Ppl do not believe your apology @palmerluckey. You got caught for being racist. Your customer base, the geeks & nerds, aren’t idiots.

8:42 PM @cheesemeister3K:

[email protected] So, you’re not sorry you funded shitposting, but sorry it negatively affected the business, i.e. sorry you got caught?

8:50 PM Brendan Iribe publishes the following post on his Facebook account:

I want to respond to the recent press stories involving Palmer. I know that Palmer is deeply sorry for the impact this situation is having on the company, our partners and the industry.

Everyone at Oculus is free to support the issues or causes that matter to them, whether or not we agree with those views. It is important to remember that Palmer acted independently in a personal capacity, and was in no way representing the company.

10:36 PM @scottperry:

resign

11:37 PM @nuthinking:

@PalmerLuckey too late and too calculated? Sorry but I don’t buy it.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

7:36 AM CNET (Sean Hollister)

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey’s role in Clinton smear group remains murky

8:59 PM Robert Scoble publishes the following post on his Facebook account:

Why Mark Zuckerberg should fire Palmer Freeman Luckey.

Because he was playing on Reddit pissing off many in the community instead of doing his job.

The HTC Vive has room scale VR. Oculus doesn’t. The Vive has controllers out today. Oculus doesn’t.

The Vive is way more fun.

The Vive has developers around the world building for it and not Oculus.

This morning a friend I trust a lot told me Google Daydream is way nicer than anyone expects (that is coming October 4th). For me the real war is over mobile.

Note: I am speaking for myself only here and have no idea what Upload VR thinks on this topic.

Facebook is being beaten in VR and out positioned by others in AR. Which is nuts because you spent billions to get Oculus.

Zuck this should concern you because so much of Facebook’s future lies on VR and AR.

Luckey hasn’t done a good job for you. Get rid of him and get some management that understands how important this market is.

7:53 AM @nunomaia:

Spineless @PalmerLuckey apology to the faux-outrage niche for having a free will attack grants him everyone’s hate.

8:31 AM Motherboard (Emanuel Maiberg)

Palmer Luckey is Lying to Somebody

9:23 AM @johnsob20:

@PalmerLuckey Turns out Oculus co-founder is a racist Trump supporter. Glad I haven’t given him my money, and now I never will.

11:47 AM Tech Crunch (Anthony Ha)

The ugly reality of an Oculus founder’s politics

“…complicates the picture that Luckey has built up in the media as a geeky genius who’s just so damn passionate about virtual reality. All those things could be as true today as they were a year or two ago, but now you also have to think about the Luckey who’s supported trolls who hijack conversations with white supremacist memes…”

12:27 PM @_MinightCoffee:

As a mexican who was saving to get an oculus kit, the Luckey debacle is very disappointing. I’m sure there are better ways to be political

4:11 PM @Shuddertrix:

I want to beat the absolute shit out of anyone that owns an Oculus Rift

9:48 PM Nonny De La Pena publishes the following post on her Facebook account:

I am being asked by many people and members of the press to comment about Palmer and his funding of Nimble America’s s**tposting on Hillary Clinton. While he has the right to offer political support to anyone he wishes, as a woman working in technology who has faced many disparaging remarks, who also had amazing but undocumented grandparents from Mexico, and who has witnessed her mother subject to racist comments firsthand, the things Trump says sicken me. Feeling dismayed barely describes my sentiments.

11:12 PM @ReddestOfRobins:

@PalmerLuckey I honestly didn’t know who you were until all of this, but it’s clear to see you’re getting a raw deal here. Best wishes, dude

SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

2:53 PM @Qualzog:

@PalmerLuckey while I disagree with your political views, you should be able to spend your money however you want. #Democracy

2:54 PM @Qualzog:

@PalmerLuckey speaking of spending your money on what you want, can you buy me a Rift? Come onnnnnnnn! 🙂 I finally have a PC that will work

2:56 PM Tech Times (Alexandra Burlacu)

Amid Heavy Criticism Over His Pro-Trump Investments, Oculus Founder Gets Two Top Executives On His Side

“The truth is that Luckey’s contribution to Nimble America did affect Oculus and many people’s view of the company, casting a dark cloud above it. It remains to be seen how things will unfold, especially since several developers said they will no longer support Oculus as long as Luckey is still a part of it.”

SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

6:04 AM @DarthClide:

Hang in there man! Just voicing my support for you to have your own voice. 🙂

5:45 PM USA Today (Marco della Cava and Brett Molina)

Facebook millionaire Luckey aligns himself with alt-right, but only if you squint

“While Scruta Games and a few other VR companies expressed similar sentiments, such stances often are met with blistering criticism. In responding to Tomorrow Today Labs’ stance, WolfLoot tweeted “Ur anti-freedom,” while Scott Malcomson wrote, “What ‘actions’? Voting for someone you don’t like? Grow up.”

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

1:20 PM @ScrutaGames:

We’ve failed to find any evidence backing up the Daily Beast’s claim that Luckey paid for hate speech. Only a lame billboard.

1:23 PM @ScrutaGames:

So we were misinformed about him financially backing hate speech, which was the issue we had.

1:23 PM @ScrutaGames:

Since there is no evidence of that so far, we will tentatively resume work on Touch support.

—-

Blake J. Harris is a writer and filmmaker based out of New York. He is the bestselling author of Console Wars and is currently co-directing the documentary based on his book, which is being produced by Scott Rudin, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. He will also serve as an executive producer on Sony’s feature film adaptation of Console Wars. Currently, he is writing companion pieces for Paul Scheer’s How Did This Get Made? podcast and working on a new book to be published by HarperCollins about the unlikely resurgence of Virtual Reality.

Tagged with:

What's your reaction?
Like
Wow
0%
LOL
0%
Dislike
0%