“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” – Captain Renault, Casablanca
There’s simply no way that Facebook ousted Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey because he was pro-Trump, as the Wall Street Journal reported in a blockbuster story yesterday. Don’t be ridiculous. The social media giant would never do such a thing. After all, that would be against the law.
The inventor of the venerable headset at the heart of Facebook’s virtual reality strategy – the one Mark Zuckerberg spent $3 billion to acquire – wasn’t booted for his blatant conservative leanings. Not at all. He left for personal reasons. Yeah, that’s it; it was personal.
That’s why Luckey’s employment law attorney was able to negotiate a $100 million payout. It wasn’t hush money. Zuck just felt sorry for the guy and wanted to help him out. Never mind that the inventor is worth close to $1 billion. Or that he is literally quoted as saying it was not his choice to leave.
Of course, nobody can say too much about any of this because saying nice things about each other is a standard clause in those employment termination agreements: You play nice with us, we’ll play nice with you; here’s your $100 million, have a nice life.
The news reportedly sent shockwaves through the tech world.
I was shocked alright – shocked that it took investigative reporting to uncover the worst kept secret in the Valley: that being openly conservative is a career-ender. And saying something, anything even remotely positive about President Trump will get you tarred and feathered and run out of town.
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, if the Bay Area leaned any further left it would fall into the Pacific Ocean. Actually that doesn’t sound so bad right now. At least it’d put out the wildfires.
There’s no age discrimination in Silicon Valley either. That’s a myth. It’s just a coincidence that the median age of tech workers at Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech giants is about 30 – a dozen years younger than the median age of the U.S. labor force.
Silicon Valley has plenty of secrets, but blatant discrimination against conservatives, Republicans, Trump supporters or anyone over 35 isn’t one of them.
After the WSJ broke the story, CNBC ran with this headline: Conflicting reports of a Facebook executive’s firing fan the flames of anti-conservative debate in Silicon Valley.
Let me be crystal clear about this: there is no anti-conservative debate in Silicon Valley. I wouldn’t even call it an anti-conservative bias. Bias is typically passive. What we’ve got going on here is anything but passive. It’s active. It’s vehement. It’s aggressive. It’s open prejudice and discrimination. And when it comes to the workplace, it’s illegal.
Just so everybody understands what I’m saying and there can be no confusion or debate, let me spell it out for you: If you want to live peacefully and be gainfully employed in the Bay Area, you keep your conservative or republican views to yourself.
And if you’re pro-Trump, you might be treated more fairly and with more respect than if you admitted to beating your children or torturing small defenseless animals. Then again, you might not. Just to be on the safe side, I’d keep it on the down low. Better yet, learn to lie convincingly.
Image credit Mait Juriado via Flickr