Backlash Brews After Oculus Founder Funds Anti-Hillary Clinton Memes
Several developers making virtual reality games for Oculus Rift have pulled their support for the device after Palmer Luckey revealed he is funding a pro-Donald Trump group.
Several developers that work in the virtual reality industry are pulling their support of the Oculus Rift headset after learning that the device's founder has been funding a group of Donald Trump supporters behind anti-Hillary Clinton memes.
Palmer Luckey, who co-founded Oculus VR and subsequently sold the company to Facebook for $2 billion, has donated to a pro-Trump group called Nimble America that claims to be "dedicated to shitposting in real life," according to a report in The Daily Beast. The publication also reported that a pro-Trump Reddit user named NimbleRichMan, listed as a co-founder of the group, was actually Luckey.
Luckey has since denied on Facebook that he is NimbleRichMan or a founder of Nimble America. Instead, he says that he donated $10,000 to the group "because I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards." He also wrote that he is a libertarian who plans to vote for Gary Johnson in the presidential election.
Earlier in the day, Luckey confirmed his involvement with Nimble America in an interview with Daily Beast. During the interview, he revealed that it was alt-right blogger and Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos, who was suspended from Twitter after helping incite attacks against Saturday Night Live's Leslie Jones, who introduced him to Nimble America. He said he connected with the group via Facebook, telling the Daily Beast, "It went along the lines of 'hey, I have a bunch of money. I would love to see more of this stuff.' They wanted to build buzz and do fundraising."
Luckey, who grew up in Long Beach, Calif., was just 19 when Oculus began raising funds via Kickstarter in 2013 to build a virtual reality headset. The company sold to Facebook in 2014 and Forbes now estimates that the 24-year-old is worth $700 million.
Now that Luckey has revealed himself as the backer of Nimble America, his company is facing a backlash from members of the virtual reality community. Several small or independent game developers have taken to Twitter to pull their support of Oculus.
Luckey's political views have come to light a few months after Facebook board member Peter Thiel, who backed Hulk Hogan's lawsuit gainst Gawker Media, spoke at the Republican National Convention in support of Trump.
When asked for comment, a representative from Oculus directed The Hollywood Reporter to Luckey's Facebook post. The entire post can be read here:
7:34 p.m. Updated to include Luckey's Facebook post.