Facebook’s virtual reality (VR) subsidiary Oculus found itself under fire Friday after reports surfaced that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has been secretly bankrolling a right-wing internet campaign to attack Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Several VR developers even said that they would stop building games for Oculus until Luckey left the company.
News about Luckey’s double life broke when the Daily Beast reported that he has been bankrolling an organization called Nimble America. The group, which recently incorporated, wants to take some of the same Anti-Clinton memes that have been circulating on social media and bring them to a wider audience.
One first example for this is a billboard the group claims to have bought outside of Pittsburgh. It shows Clinton’s portrait along with the slogan “too big to jail.”
Luckey got introduced to the group by alt-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos, according to the Daily Beast. He took to Reddit to write about financing the group, albeit without revealing his real identity, instead writing under the moniker HumbleRichGuy.
“Unfortunately, I have to be careful with any information that could let people figure out my exact identity,” that Reddit user wrote a week ago. “Our adversaries have enormous power, and the best way I can continue to fight the good fight is to keep doing well in business and funding good causes with the proceeds.”
Now that his identity as the funder of Nimble America has been revealed, Luckey and Oculus are indeed facing a significant backlash. A number of VR developers have publicly taken a position against Luckey’s controversial side gig, and a handful has even threatened to drop support for Oculus Rift if he stayed with the company, according to a Motherboard report.
— Scruta Games (@ScrutaGames) September 23, 2016
The controversy comes at a critical time for Oculus. The company is scheduled to hold its developer conference next month, and is getting ready to introduce its Touch controller ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.