Oculus co-founder and Trump troll financier Palmer Luckey was conspicuously missing from the keynote stage at today’s Oculus Connect 3 conference in San Jose, CA. That likely related to the backlash against news that Luckey donated $10,000 to Nimble America, a pro-Trump non-profit dedicated to bashing Hillary Clinton with offensive memes.
Luckey typically dispenses high-level thoughts on VR’s potential at Oculus events, since he had the original vision for the company and built its first headset prototype in his garage at age 18. He spoke during the conference’s main keynote last year, and appeared in videos shown during the 2014 keynote.
Following a Daily Beast story about Luckey’s involvement with Nimble America, he posted an apology on Facebook saying “my actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.”
However, the typically left-leaning tech sector have continued to harshly criticize Luckey, and some Oculus partners claim they will withdraw from the platform. Tomorrow Today Labs, Scruta Games, and Superhypercube developers Kokoromi and Polytron say they will withhold their apps from Oculus as long as Luckey is employed there. Facebook and Oculus have declined to punish or demote Luckey.
All of Oculus’ other top executives, including co-founders Brendan Iribe and Nate Mitchell, top scientist Michael Abrash, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, all appeared on stage, making the lack of Luckey more obvious. Palmer wasn’t even included in any of the pre-made videos.
It seems Oculus would rather hide Luckey away than court more controversy by allowing him to continue to be a face of the company.